, Volume 75, Issue 10, pp 1045-1056

Pulmonary Diseases and Corticosteroids

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Abstract

Steroids (corticosteroids) are anti-inflammatory drugs. Corticosteroids are used in many pulmonary conditions. Corticosteroids have a proven beneficial role in asthma, croup (Laryngotracheobronchitis), decreasing the risk and severity of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, interstitial lung disease, hemangioma of trachea, Pulmonary eosinophillic disorders. Role of corticosteroids is controversial in many conditions e.g. idiopathic pulmonary hemosiderosis, bronchiolitis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, hyperplasia of thymus, bronchiolitis, acute respiratory distress syndrome, aspiration syndromes, atypical pneumonias, laryngeal diphtheria, AIDS, SARS, sarcoidosis, meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS), pulmonary haemorrhage, bronchitis, bronchiolitis obliterans with organizing pneumonia in JRA, histiocytosis, á-1 antitrypsin deficiency, bordtella pertusis, pulmonary involvement in histiocytosis. However these are used empirically in many of these conditions despite lack of clear evidence in favour. There is concern about their side effects, especially on growth. Systemic steroids are associated with significant adverse effects. Pulmonary conditions have a strategic advantage that inhaled corticosteroids are useful in many of these. Although inhaled preparations of corticosteroids have been developed to maximise effective treatment of lung diseases characterised by inflammation and reduce the frequency of harmful effects, these have not been eliminated. There are situations where only systemic steroids are useful. Clinicians must weigh the benefits against the potential detrimental effects. It is recommended that standard protocols for use of steroids available in literature should be followed, always keeping a watch on the potential hazards of prolonged use.