What are inhaled corticosteroids (ICS)?

Inhaled corticosteroids (core-tick-oh-steroids), also called ICS, are medicines used to control and prevent asthma symptoms. Inhaled ICS are different from the “anabolic” steroids that body builders use.

Swelling or inflammation in the airways is a major cause of asthma symptoms. Inhaling ICS can reduce the swelling, but it will not relieve an asthma attack. Quick-relief medicine such as albuterol should be used for asthma attacks. However, by using ICS as often as the doctor asks, your child can prevent asthma symptoms. That is why these medicines are called “controllers” or “preventers.”

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.