Stunted growth caused by inhaled asthma steroids

During the first year of treatment, the widely used remedies cut growth rates by about half a centimetre, scientists said.

But they, and other experts, stressed that slight loss of growth was a small price to pay for protection against potentially lethal asthma attacks.

Evidence also suggested that the effect could be minimised by using lower doses of the drugs.

Scientists reviewed trial data on more than 8000 young people aged 18 and under with mild to moderate asthma.

The Cochrane review focused on corticosteroid inhalers. 

Lead author Dr Linjie Zhang, from the Federal University of Rio Grande in Brazil, said: "The evidence we reviewed suggests that children treated daily with inhaled corticosteroids may grow approximately half a centimetre less during the first year of treatment.

"But this effect is less pronounced in subsequent years, is not cumulative, and seems minor compared to the known benefits of the