Even if you have to take steroid tablets for a few weeks or months, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll always need them - the aim is to stop the tablets altogether, if possible. Your healthcare professional will consider assessing you for other treatments such as bronchial thermoplasty , Xolair and other medicines in the new class of ‘mab’ drugs with you – these treatments can stop you needing to take steroid tablets so often, and at such high doses. If your asthma’s controlled, you’ll be gradually taken off the tablets. You should never stop taking them suddenly as your asthma symptoms may get worse.
The most common side effects with inhaled steroids are thrush (a yeast infection of the mouth or throat that causes a white discoloration of the tongue), cough or hoarseness. Rinsing your mouth (and spitting out the water) after inhaling the medicine and using a spacer with an inhaled metered-dose-inhaler reduces the risk of thrush. When a dose is prescribed that is normal or higher than the normal dose in the package insert, some systemic side effects may occur. Keep in mind, however, that an inhaled steroid has much less potential for side effects than steroid pills or syrups. There have been concerns regarding the possibility of growth suppression in children. Recent studies have not shown growth suppression over several years of treatment.