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What are the side effects of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS)?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Side effects may include coughing, irritation of the throat or airways, difficulty speaking, yeast infections of the mouth and throat, sinus or respiratory infections, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort.

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor.

Intermountain Registered Dietitians
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) may cause your child’s voice to become hoarse, bother her throat, or cause coughing. ICS may also cause an infection in your child’s mouth or throat. This infection appears as small white patches that may be sore. If you notice this infection, call your doctor. You can lessen these side effects by always using a spacer and having your child rinse her mouth with water each time after using the ICS.

All ICS are labeled by order of the Food and Drug Administration as possibly slowing growth. However, this is not true for all patients and doesn’t occur often in children who use low to medium doses. Children using ICS may have catch-up growth later on, even if they seem to be growing slower now. Your doctor should follow your child’s height on a growth chart to make sure that he is growing at the expected rate. Ask to see the chart if you are concerned about your child’s height. You should also make sure your child is getting enough calcium and vitamin D every day.

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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.