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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2012 Mar 1;185(5):557-63. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201108-1482OC. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Inhaled glucocorticoids during pregnancy and offspring pediatric diseases: a national cohort study.

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Division of Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry, Department of Psychology, University of Basel, Switzerland.



Glucocorticoid inhalation is the preferred asthma treatment during pregnancy. Previous studies on its safety focused on obstetric outcomes and offspring malformations.


To determine whether glucocorticoid inhalation during pregnancy is a risk factor for offspring pediatric diseases.


We studied offspring (live singletons) of pregnant women suffering from asthma during pregnancy (prevalence = 6.3%; n = 4,083 mother-child pairs) from the Danish National Birth Cohort (births, 1996-2002; prospective data). We estimated the associations between use of inhaled glucocorticoids for asthma treatment during pregnancy (n = 1231; 79.9% budesonide, 17.6% fluticasone, 5.4% beclomethasone, and 0.9% other or unspecified glucocorticoids) and offspring diseases (International Classification of Diseases-10th Revision, diagnoses) during childhood. We conducted Cox or logistic regression analyses for each International Classification of Diseases-10th Revision category, controlling for use of non-glucocorticoid-containing inhalants, and confirmed results by addressing confounding by treatment indication using propensity score.


Offspring median age at end of follow-up was 6.1 (range, 3.6-8.9) years. Glucocorticoid inhalation was not associated with offspring disease risk in most categories, except for offspring endocrine, metabolic, and nutritional disorders (hazard ratio, 1.84; 95% confidence interval, 1.13-2.99). When repeating analyses with the major subgroup that used budesonide only, association estimates were of similar magnitude.


Regarding most disease categories, data are reassuring, supporting the use of inhaled glucocorticoids during pregnancy. In line with animal data, glucocorticoid inhalation during pregnancy may be a risk factor for offspring endocrine and metabolic disturbances, which should be considered further.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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