Are steroids in asthma medicines safe to take?

Yes, in fact if you are prescribed a controller inhaler and use it properly this will greatly reduce your chance of an asthma attack.

Some facts about the steroids in your controller inhaler:

  • The inhaled steroids used to treat your asthma are corticosteroids- identical to the steroids naturally produced by the human body.

  • They are completely different from the anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders and used.

  • Inhaled steroids go straight down to the airways, with very little absorbed into the rest of your body.

  • Your doctor will normally prescribe the lowest possible dose to treat your symptoms.

  • Inhalers can be in spray (aerosol) form or dry powder form. If you have an aerosol inhaler it is recommended that you use a spacer device when taking it. A spacer is a plastic or metal container with a mouthpiece at one end and a space to clip onto your inhaler at the other. Spacer devices help reduce the side effects of asthma medication and ensure you’re getting the correct dose.

  • Rinsing your mouth after using an inhaler is recommended to avoid side effects such as hoarseness and oral thrush.

  • Children’s treatment regimes should be reviewed every 6 months at the very least.

  • All children should use a spacer for their controller inhaler.

Occasionally if your asthma symptoms become severe, your doctor may give you a short course of steroid tablet. These work quickly and powerfully to help ‘soothe’ or calm your inflamed airways. Short courses of tablets (from 3-14 days) are unlikely to cause any long-term side effects. However, steroid tablets can lower the body’s resistance to chicken pox so you should contact your doctor if you’re taking steroid tablets and come into contact with chicken pox.



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