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While daily inhaled steroids are currently recommended for preschoolers who have a high risk for developing persistent asthma or high risk for severe asthma, there's still a risk that the treatment may cause a small decrease in their growth.

Now new research finds that less frequent treatment with higher doses of inhaled steroids works just as well to control wheezing with less overall exposure to the drug. Health Day reports:
"We learned that the daily, low-dose treatment regimen of inhaled budesonide was no better than a high-dose regimen used for seven days during a specific respiratory illness," said the study's lead author, Dr. Robert Zeiger, a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, and director of allergy research at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.

"However, there are certain caveats to the findings. This is only applicable to patients similar to those studied. It would not be applicable to those with more severe wheezing episodes or those with persistent wheezing. And, parents shouldn't institute treatment for every sniffle or cold. Parents need to be instructed on when to use the treatment. They'll need to recognize past symptoms that preceded the development of a wheezing episode," Zeiger explained.
The study appears in the Nov. 24 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.