06 March 2009

Growth not affected by nasal spray

In children with persistent stuffy nose due to allergy, or "allergic rhinitis," long-term use of the steroid nasal spray appears to have no effect on growth, researchers say.


In children with persistent stuffy nose due to allergy, or "allergic rhinitis," long-term use of the steroid nasal spray triamcinolone acetonide appears to have no significant effect on growth, Pennsylvania-based researchers report.

"Many children with allergic rhinitis are prescribed daily intranasal steroids," lead investigator Dr. David P. Skoner told Reuters Health, "but their parents are reluctant to give it because of safety concerns and children therefore do not get the benefit."

Concerns include decreased bone density and reduced growth as adverse effects of long-term steroid use.

How the study was done
To investigate further, Skoner, of Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, and colleagues studied 39 children, initially between 6 and 14 years old, who were treated with the spray for 1 year and a subset of 30 of these children who continued treatment for a second year.

The investigators found no differences between predicted and measured growth or height after both 1 and 2 years, they report in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

"Virtually all of the previous studies examining the growth of children using intranasal steroids were relatively short and lasted 1 year," Skoner noted.

The current study, he concluded, found "excellent safety" of triamcinolone acetonide nasal spray when the treatment period was extended to 2 years, "which should help allay parental fears about safety."

SOURCE: Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, October 2008.

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