We studied the effect of inhaled corticosteroids on the increase in bone mineral content in prepubertal children with asthma. Forty-eight asthmatic, prepubertal children receiving either inhaled beclomethasone dipropionate or budesonide were evaluated. Nine children of similar age not receiving inhaled steroids served as controls. The average age of corticosteroid-treated children was 7.8 +/- 2.4 years, and of control children, 8.4 +/- 2.1 years (NS). The average dose of inhaled corticosteroids in the treated children was 0.67 +/- 0.48 mg/m(2)/day, and they were followed over a 9-20-month period. Total bone mineral content (TBMC) was measured at baseline and after 9-20 months. A derived value for 12 months' TBMC was calculated, assuming that changes in TBMC were linear with the passage of time. The change in TBMC over a 12-month period was 264 +/- 68 mg for the corticosteroid-treated children and 330 +/- 84 mg for control children (P < 0.025). In a multiple regression analysis in which adjustments were made for the effects of age, height, and weight, the change in TBMC in corticosteroid-treated children was inversely related to the inhaled steroid dose/m(2)/day (P = 0.016). The increase in the lumbar vertebral bone mineral density in control children was also significantly greater than in the corticosteroid-treated children (P < 0.025). We conclude that inhaled steroids, at an average dose of 0.67 mg/m(2)/day, when used in the treatment of asthma reduce the acquisition of bone mineral in prepubertal children.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.