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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2004 May;92(5):512-22.

Oral corticosteroid-sparing effects of inhaled corticosteroids in the treatment of persistent and acute asthma.

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Allergy and Asthma Consultants-NJ/PA, Collegeville, Pennsylvania 19426, USA.



To review the efficacy and safety of inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) when used to reduce daily oral corticosteroid (OCS) requirements in patients with severe persistent asthma and periodic requirements in patients with acute asthma exacerbations.


Clinical studies of the OCS-sparing effects of ICSs were located by searching MEDLINE databases from 1966 onward using the terms oral, steroid, and asthma in combination with the generic names for each marketed ICS.


Studies reporting on the use of ICSs to reduce OCS requirements in patients with persistent and acute asthma are included.


Clinical study results consistently show that ICSs significantly improve asthma control and reduce OCS requirements among adults, children, and infants with persistent asthma. A dose reduction or complete discontinuation of use of OCSs is possible in most patients without loss of asthma control. ICSs also can control asthma during acute asthma exacerbations and reduce the need for short courses of OCSs. With many ICSs, the reductions in OCS use are accompanied by recovery of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function, indicating that the safety of asthma therapy is improved when OCS requirements are decreased with ICSs. Of the available ICSs that may reduce OCS needs, budesonide appears to be the most intensively studied.


ICSs can reduce OCS requirements in adults and children with persistent asthma and during acute asthma exacerbations. The reduced systemic corticosteroid activity associated with ICS treatment improves the overall safety of asthma therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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