Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Growth of asthmatic children during treatment with budesonide: a double blind trial.

British Medical Journal 1991; 303 doi: (Published 20 July 1991) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1991;303:163
  1. O D Wolthers,
  2. S Pedersen
  1. Department of Paediatrics, Kolding Hospital, Denmark.


    OBJECTIVE--To determine whether the inhaled glucocorticosteroid budesonide has any adverse effect on short term linear growth in children with mild asthma. SETTING--Outpatient clinic in secondary referral centre. PATIENTS--15 children aged 6-13 years with normal statural growth velocity during the previous year, no signs of puberty, and no use of systemic or topical steroids in the two months before the study. DESIGN OF INTERVENTIONS--Double blind, randomised crossover trial with two active periods in which budesonide was given in divided daily doses of 200 micrograms and 800 micrograms. During run in and two washout periods placebo was given. After the second washout period the children received open treatment with 400 micrograms budesonide daily. All periods were of 18 days' duration. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--Growth of the lower leg as measured twice a week by knemometry. RESULTS--Mean growth velocity of the lower leg was 0.63 mm/week during run in and during washout 0.64 mm/week. Budesonide treatment was associated with a significant dose related reduction of growth velocity: the mean reduction in growth velocity during treatment was 0.11 (95% confidence interval -0.15 0.36 (0.13 to 0.59) mm/week with 800 micrograms budesonide (p less than 0.05; Page's test). During treatment with 400 micrograms budesonide a reduction of 0.17 (-0.10 to 0.45) mm/week was found. CONCLUSIONS--Treatment with inhaled budesonide is associated with a dose related suppression of short term linear growth in children with mild asthma.