Cortisone steroids are the most popular group of drugs used to treat asthma. These cortisones act on lungs to decrease secretion and swelling. Our body by itself produces different types of steroids from the adrenal glands.
The mineralocorticoids type of steroids produced from adrenal glands regulate the body’s salt balance. The anabolic steroids control our muscle mass and sexual features. The glucocor-ticoids, control the levels of sugar, fat, and protein in the body. Cortisone also controls inflammation in the body, and it is the group of steroid drugs used to treat asthma. These cortisone drugs reduce secretions in the lung and reverse swelling and inflammation in the bronchial tubes. The mast cells and eosinophil cause inflammation on the bronchial tubes. The steroid based medicines for asthma lower the number of these inflammatory cells. The common Cortisone based drugs are prednisone, prednisolone (Medrol) which are orally taken drugs and the inhaled drugs like beclomethasone Beclovent, Vanceril), flunisolide (AeroBid), and triamcinolone (Azmacort).
The early results with cortisone drugs on asthmatics were quite impressive. With its use, the even the most chronic asthmatics stopped wheezing for the first time and started breathing betters it is like a complete cure for asthma. The doctors and patients were surely elated. But over the course of years it was found that continued use of steroid based drugs to treat asthma is fraught with disastrous and devastating consequences. The side effects of long period of steroids usage treat asthma included adrenal gland failure, slow wound healing, excess weight gain, easy bruising, brittle bones, eye cataracts, and stunted growth in children.
Certain minimal usage of steroid based drugs does reduce the side effects like using it every alternative days etc. Doctors outweigh the cost benefit ratio – the cost of not using the drugs to the side effects. Steroid based drugs have however helped many asthmatics to stay out of the hospital and lead a relatively normal life.