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Asthma patients worry over steroid side-effects

Nearly a quarter of asthma patients do not take their steroid medication as prescribed due to worries about side-effects, a survey shows.

Asthma UK have found that 82% of people prescribed steroids for asthma say they are concerned that may result in ill health.

Common steroid side-effects include a horse voice, sore throat and mouth infections.

Women are more likely than men to report their concerns, whereas men more often let their concerns affect their compliance to steroid regimens.  

The strongest concerns are expressed by people aged 45 to 54 years, with just over half saying they were "very" or "fairly" concerned.

Patients say they worry that a prolonged trial of steroids may cause them to develop osteoporosis.

However, Asthma UK stress that it is important to "weigh up risks versus benefit" and inhaled steroids give good asthma control.

Martyn Patridge, Chief Medical Adviser to Asthma UK, says: "Patients will understandably not take medicines about which they have concerns.

"Those with asthma should feel absolutely free to question doctors about their prescriptions and expect to be asked to express any concerns so that a balnced discussion regarding the facts may follow."

Commenting on the survey, Jenny Versnel, Executive Director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK says: "These results highlight the need to understand the concerns people with asthma have around their treatment, so that informed discussions can improve asthma control and reduce the number of emergency admissions."