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May 21, 1982

Steroid side effects also seen in asthmatics

JAMA. 1982;247(19):2657-2658. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320440009005

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Physicians using high doses of oral corticosteroids to treat asthmatic patients should be aware that two of the known side effects of these agents may occur in this group of patients as well: weakening of bones and development of posterior subcapsular cataracts.

In two recent separate studies of asthmatics taking 10 to 20 mg/day of prednisone, significant loss of trabecular bone and fractures were found in at least 10% of adults and initial cataractous changes in 30% of children. One investigative group reported preliminary findings that cataracts regressed when the children began using inhaled steroids.

Loss of Bone. —  At the Montreal meeting of the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology, Allen D. Adinoff, MD, described work that he undertook with Dwandolyn Reese and J. Roger Hollister, MD, at the National Jewish Hospital in Denver. From a retrospective examination of the records of 126 adult patients with asthma who were