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Steroid inhaler use increases risk for hard-to-treat lung infections

October 20, 2017

Read the Perspective from Umur Hatipoglu, MD

Older adults who were treated for asthma or COPD with inhaled corticosteroids were twice as likely to develop nontuberculous mycobacterial pulmonary disease infections than those who were not, according to findings published in the European Respiratory Journal.

“Inhaled corticosteroids are the mainstay of asthma therapy and are often used in COPD,” Sarah K. Brode, MD, from the division of respirology at the University of Toronto, and colleagues wrote. “However, corticosteroids have inhibitory effects on innate and acquired immune function, and oral corticosteroids increase the risk of systemic infection. [Inhaled corticosteroids] are delivered directly to the lungs and therefore might increase susceptibility to local (lung) infections.”

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