Steroid Myths Prevent Effective Treatment

More than 20.3 million Americans have asthma. The best treatment for asthma depends on how often you have symptoms. Inhaled corti-costeroids are commonly prescribed by doctors because they are the most effective and safe medication to control asthma.  Inhaled corticosteroids should not be confused with the types of steroids some athletes and body builders use.

Non-anabolic steroids, such as cortisone, are available by prescription to treat medical problems like asthma or arthritis and do not contain the male hormone effects of andro-gens. Anabolic steroids, those misused by some athletes, are artificially produced hormones that are the same as or similar to, androgens, the male-type sex hormones in the body.

Following are some myths and facts about steroids. If you have concerns about inhaled corticosteroids or any other asthma medication, consult with Gateway Asthma and Allergy Relief.





Inhaled corticosteroids will cause weight gain.


Only prolonged use of oral corticosteroids is associated with weight gain, but they are prescribed for severe asthma episodes or when conventional treatment strategies fail.


Once a patient starts using inhaled corti-costeroids, the drugs will eventually become less effective. So over time, he/she will have to use more and more drugs to control asthma symptoms.


If a person does need to increase the frequency of the drug, it means the asthma is getting worse, not that the drug is becoming less effective.

The goal of asthma management is to achieve optimal control of asthma symptoms with the lowest effective medication dose.

Inhalation therapy should be considered a last resort, reserved for patients with chronic or severe cases.


According to National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) guidelines, inhaled corti-costeroids are the safest, most effective medicine available for management of mild or moderate persistent asthma


Inhaled corticosteroids are addictive drugs


Inhaled corticosteroids are the only drugs that stop the progression of the disease, reduce severity and control it without significant side-effects. Without inhaled corticosteroids, the disease will often progress and more drugs will be required later.


Inhaled corticosteroids will damage the lungs.


Inhalers supply the drugs directly to the lungs, providing the safest mode of drug administration. Because of this, the dosage is a small fraction of the oral form.


Inhaled steroids are the same drugs that athletes use to gain muscle.

Steroids such as cortisone are non-anabolic steroids, and the steroids athletes use to build muscle are anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids are artificially produced hormones that are the same as androgens, the male-type sex  hormones in the body. The most popular androgen is testosterone.


This information on asthma is provided to you with permission from AAAAI

Date: 2/4/2005

Print this Page

Show Patient Education List