Background: Measurement of short-term lower-leg growth rate in children by means of knemometry has become established as an integral part of the available measures of systemic activity of topical steroids in children.
Objective: We sought to determine the effects of clinically effective doses of the novel inhaled corticosteroid ciclesonide on lower-leg growth rate and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function in children with asthma.
Methods: In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 4-period crossover study, 24 children aged 6 to 12 years sequentially received ciclesonide (40, 80, and 160 microg) in randomized order once daily in the evening. Each 2-week treatment period was followed by a 2-week washout period. Knemometry was performed at the beginning and end of each treatment period. Cortisol levels in 12-hour overnight urine were measured at the end of each treatment period.
Results: No statistically significant differences were seen in lower-leg growth rates between any of the ciclesonide treatments and placebo. Lower-leg growth rates were 0.412 mm/wk for placebo, 0.425 mm/wk for 40 microg of ciclesonide, 0.397 mm/wk for 80 microg of ciclesonide, and 0.370 mm/wk for 160 microg of ciclesonide. There was no statistically significant dose-response effect. Likewise, no statistically significant differences or dose-response effects were found for urinary cortisol adjusted for creatinine.
Conclusion: Short-term lower-leg growth rate and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function are not affected by treatment with ciclesonide in doses intended for clinical use in children.