There is, however, some evidence that higher doses of inhaled corticosteroids can result in adverse BMD changes. In a high-quality RCT of 412 participants, aged 40 to 69 years, with mild to moderate COPD, use of higher-dose triamcinolone (1200 mcg/day) was associated with decreased lumbar and femoral neck BMD over 3 to 4 years. 4 The differences in BMD between the inhaled corticosteroids and placebo groups at the femoral neck and lumbar spine were % ( P <.001) and % ( P =.007), respectively. However, the risk of fracture or height loss did not increase at follow-up.
The aim of this article is to bring less well recognised adverse effects of inhaled corticosteroids to the attention of prescribers. Whilst inhaled steroids have a more favourable side effect profile than systemic steroids, they are not free from adverse effects. The dose of inhaled steroids used should be carefully monitored, and kept at the lowest dose necessary to maintain adequate control of the patient’s disease process. Be particularly aware of the cumulative effect of co-prescribing various dose forms of corticosteroids (inhaled, intranasal, oral and topical preparations).