Patients who are on drugs that suppress the immune system are more susceptible to infection than healthy individuals. Chicken pox and measles , for example, can have a more serious or even fatal course in susceptible pediatric patients or adults on immunosuppressant doses of corticosteroids. In pediatric or adult patients who have not had these diseases, particular care should be taken to avoid exposure. How the dose, route, and duration of corticosteroid administration affects the risk of developing a disseminated infection is not known. The contribution of the underlying disease and/or prior corticosteroid treatment to the risk is also not known. If exposed, therapy with varicella zoster immune globulin (VZIG) or pooled intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), as appropriate, may be indicated. If exposed to measles, prophylaxis with pooled intramuscular immunoglobulin (IG) may be indicated. (See the respective package inserts for complete VZIG and IG prescribing information.) If chicken pox develops, treatment with antiviral agents may be considered.
Some parents worry that children who use inhaled corticosteroids may not grow as tall as other children. A very small difference in height and growth was found in children who were using inhaled corticosteroids compared to children not using them. 3 And one study showed a very small difference in height [about in. ( cm) ] in adults who used inhaled corticosteroids as children compared to adults who did not use inhaled corticosteroids. 4 But the use of inhaled corticosteroids has important health benefits for children who have asthma. If you are worried about the effects of asthma medicines on your child, talk with your doctor.