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).
Studies reporting exacerbations requiring OCS showed no difference between the two add-ons, but our confidence in the effect was low due to inconsistency between studies and because the confidence intervals ( CI ) included significant benefit of either treatment ( odds ratio ( OR ) , 95% CI to ; 1753 participants; 3 studies); three more people per 1000 might have an exacerbation on LAMA, but the CIs ranged from 29 fewer to 61 more. Imprecision was also an issue for serious adverse events and exacerbations requiring hospital admission, rated low (serious adverse events) and very low quality (exacerbations requiring hospital admission), because there were so few events in the analyses.
LABA, such as formoterol, one of the active ingredients in SYMBICORT, increase the risk of asthma-related death. Currently available data are inadequate to determine whether concurrent use of inhaled corticosteroids or other long-term asthma control drugs mitigates the increased risk of asthma-related death from LABA. Available data from controlled clinical trials suggest that LABA increase the risk of asthma-related hospitalization in pediatric and adolescent patients. Therefore, when treating patients with asthma, SYMBICORT should only be used for patients not adequately controlled on a long-term asthma-control medication, such as an inhaled corticosteroid or whose disease severity clearly warrants initiation of treatment with both an inhaled corticosteroid and LABA. Once asthma control is achieved and maintained, assess the patient at regular intervals and step down therapy (., discontinue SYMBICORT) if possible without loss of asthma control, and maintain the patient on a long-term asthma control medication, such as an inhaled corticosteroid. Do not use SYMBICORT for patients whose asthma is adequately controlled on low or medium dose inhaled corticosteroids.