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Inhaled Corticosteroids


Lt Col Reynolds
People with persistent asthma need to take long-term control medicines, usually for an extended period of time. One of the most effective, long-term control medicines for asthma is called an inhaled corticosteroid, or ICS. Dr. Green, will you tell us how inhaled corticosteroids help control asthma?

Dr. Green
Absolutely, Dr. Reynolds. Patients with asthma have inflamed, swollen airways, which can also cause excess production of mucus. An ICS works over time to reduce the inflammation and swelling of the airways and to decrease production of mucus.

Regular use of inhaled corticosteroids usually results in improved lung function and a decrease in the frequency and severity of symptoms. Regular use may also result in fewer urgent care visits, fewer hospitalizations, and fewer courses of oral steroids. For these reasons, inhaled corticosteroids, often referred to as simply “steroids,” are the preferred medicine for controlling mild, moderate, and severe persistent asthma.

The type of steroids used to treat asthma should not be confused with anabolic steroids, known for their use in athletics. Inhaled corticosteroids are generally safe when taken as directed by a provider. As with all inhaled or ingested medications, however, steroids may have side effects. Talk with your provider about options to reduce the potential for developing side effects from your ICS.