The local side effects of inhaled corticosteroids: current understanding and review of the literature

Chest. 2004 Jul;126(1):213-9. doi: 10.1378/chest.126.1.213.


The frequent use of inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs), especially at higher doses, has been accompanied by concern about both systemic and local side effects. The systemic complications of ICSs have been extensively studied and are well-documented in the literature. There are comparatively few studies reporting on the local complications of ICSs. Compared with systemic side effects, the local side effects of ICSs are considered to constitute infrequent and minor problems. However, while not usually serious, these local side effects are of clinical importance. They may hamper compliance with therapy and the symptoms produced may mimic more sinister pathology. This review considers the prevalence of local side effects, their clinical features, the potential causes, the role of inhaler devices, and current measures that have been suggested to avoid the problem.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones* / administration & dosage
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones* / adverse effects
  • Adult
  • Candidiasis / chemically induced*
  • Candidiasis / epidemiology
  • Candidiasis / pathology
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Laryngitis / chemically induced*
  • Laryngitis / epidemiology
  • Laryngitis / physiopathology
  • Metered Dose Inhalers
  • Prevalence
  • Voice Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Voice Disorders / epidemiology
  • Voice Disorders / physiopathology


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones