Asthma steroids 'could stunt growth'

Young children given asthma medication before the age of two may not grow to their full height in later life, a preliminary report suggests.

The study of 12,000 Finnish infants found that, on average, those who used inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) long-term showed signs of stunted growth, according to BBC.

Experts said the study was a reminder that steroids should be used with caution in pre-school children.

However, Asthma UK said inhaled corticosteroids played a crucial in controlling asthma symptoms and reducing trips to hospital for young infants.

The findings are presented at the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology conference.

One in 11 children in the UK has asthma, making it the most common long-term medical condition among children.

Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are strong medications commonly found in inhalers, used to treat asthma in adults and recurrent wheezing in children - but they are known to have side-effects in some people.

The latest guidelines for GPs recommend that all children taking inhaled steroids for asthma should have their height and weight checked every year for any signs of reduced growth.