Posted 4/23/2007 12:14 AM (GMT -7)
Although I personally have a mindset to minimize taking meds, especially steroids, asthma and inhaled steroids are different. The most enlightened advice I have seen given for treating asthma is that it is best to treat it aggressively with inhaled (or in some cases, oral) steroids early on. Unfortunately, many ER's, after stabalizing a patient with asthma, will just release them with an albuterol inhaler and advice to consult the primary care physician if problems persist. They are still reluctant to release a patient with a steroid inhaler. People with asthma really need to get on the inhaled steroids ASAP in order to minimize damaging structural changes in the lungs.
I hope this ER policy changes soon because the longer one waits before getting on the appropriate dose of inhaled steroids, the more permanent damage is done to the lungs. And the downside of taking inhaled steroids is very minimal (compared to oral steroids which, of course, are a whole different ball of wax). Really, if one rinses out the mouth each and every time one takes the inhaled steroids, the side effects are usually very minimal. Very little of the inhaled steroids gets out of the lungs and into one's system. My doc, as well as the research I have seen, says they are safe for long term use, at least for adults. Not sure about children, but I suspect they are worth it for them as well.