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Parents “Ignorant” of Asthma Treatment Side Effects

Nov 25, 2002 | Health Newswire Many parents of children with asthma are unaware of the potential health problems associated with high-dose inhaled steroid treatments, a survey suggests.

An NOP poll found that two-thirds of parents were oblivious to the potential side effects associated with steroid treatments, which can include adrenal suppression, osteoporosis or changes in bone mineral density and growth suppression.

However, the survey showed that 94 per cent of GPs and 80 per cent of nurses were concerned about such side effects.

Parents can now choose new alternatives to steroid-based treatments for asthma including a group of drugs known as leukotriene receptor antagonists, also known as “add on therapy”.

But, according to the survey, 90 per cent of parents were unaware of such alternatives and less than 60 per cent felt that they were given all of the information they needed concerning asthma treatments.

The survey, which involved 573 GPs, nurses and parents, has prompted calls for better communication between parents and healthcare professionals.

Commenting on the results, Professor David Price, an expert in primary care respiratory medicine at the University of Aberdeen, said parents should be empowered to discuss alternatives to higher-dose inhaled steroids with their GP or nurse.

Donna Covey, chief executive of The National Asthma Campaign, urged parents to discuss any concerns about their child’s treatment with their doctor. “In this way, parents can work in partnership with their GP or nurse to ensure that their child receives the best asthma care possible,” she said.

The survey was carried out on behalf of the Respiratory Education Training Centre and the pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme.

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