Corticosteroid is used to help control and prevent asthma attacks. If corticosteroids are used over the long term, the side effects of this type of medicine can be a concern. Some side effects that may result from the use of this type of steroid include the following:

  • 1. Fungal Infections. Thrush, a fungal infection of the mouth, is the most common side effect of inhaled corticosteroids. 
    • Prevention and Treatment- Thrush can be easily treated and even prevented by rinsing the mouth after the medication is inhaled, or sometimes by changing the inhalation technique. Ask your healthcare provider for advice. Inhaled corticosteroids do not cause fungal infections in the lungs.
  • 2. Hoarseness. Some people find their voices become husky or hoarse when using an inhaled corticosteroid. Usually, this can be remedied by having the doctor lower the dose, but if the hoarseness persists, the treatment may be discontinued. Hoarseness is more common with dry powder inhalers than with HFA inhalers. 
    • Prevention- Hoarseness can be further reduced with the use of a spacer device (with HFA inhalers), which provides a smoother flow of the medication into the lungs, instead of depositing on the vocal cords – which is the cause of the hoarseness.
  • 3. Bruising. Occasional bruising may occur from the use of inhaled corticosteroids,but as a rule, side effects throughout the body from such medications are much less than those from steroids taken in a pill form.
    • Prevention- Bruising can be prevented by staying extra careful.

Other side effects from systemic steroids may include nervousness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, loss or gain of appetite. They can usually be resolved by having the doctor change the dose or prescribe a different asthma medicine. With proper dosages and use of the appropriate type of inhaled corticosteroid medicine, side effects can be kept to a minimum. This is currently the best treatment option for a person with persistent asthma.

Watch the below video on "Steroids and Asthma"There is no scientific evidence to prove that alternative treatments such as herbs and supplements are effective in treating asthma. In fact, some of these alternatives may even interact with prescription asthma medications or trigger allergies, which can lead to an asthma attack. Before taking any herbal remedies or nutritional supplements, an asthmatic should be sure to consult with their healthcare provider first.