Inhaled steroids do have some side effects, although usually not the side effects that people normally think of with “steroids”. Inhaled steroids can cause thrush (yeast infection in the throat) and hoarseness. Both of these can be minimized by rinsing the mouth after using. Inhaled steroids do have a small effect on bone density and in someone already prone to osteoporosis might be an additional risk factor. Things like weight gain, mood changes, blood sugar elevation and immune system suppression really aren’t an issue with inhaled steroids because the total dose to the body is extremely low. For most patients, the benefits of being on an inhaled steroid FAR FAR FAR outweigh the risk.
Inhaled glucocorticoids (also called inhaled corticosteroids or ICS) have fewer and less severe adverse effects than orally-administered glucocorticoids, and they are widely used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) [ 1 ]. However, there are concerns about the systemic effects of ICS, particularly as they are likely to be used over long periods of time, in infants, children, and older adults [ 2,3 ]. The safety of ICS has been extensively investigated since their introduction for the treatment of asthma 30 years ago [ 4-9 ].