Medical Q&As

Inhaled steroids

I have asthma and have been on oral steroids now for three and a half years in addition to inhalers. I worry about the side effects, some of which are visible, but I imagine many are not. Am I worrying unnecessarily?

The risk of developing steroid side effects is related to the duration and dosage of treatment. The amount of steroid absorbed into the blood stream from an inhaler is minuscule and this is the reason why inhaled steroids are preferred to oral steroids. It is possible to use inhaled steroids for many years on a continuos basis without developing side effects. It is not clear from your question if you are on "oral" as well as "inhaled" steroids, you simply say that you are using inhalers. If you are not on a steroid inhaler it may be possible for your GP to switch you from "oral" to "inhaled" treatment.