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Inhaled steroids summarized - Consumer Reports Health Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are common conditions in the U.S. About 20 million Americans have asthma. Some five million are children. Each year, about two million people visit a hospital emergency department because of an asthma attack, and some 4,500 die. As many as 24 million Americans have COPD, the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Doctors use several different types of medicines to treat both these conditions. One is a class of drugs called inhaled steroids. There are six medicines in this class. To help you and your doctor evaluate and choose among them, Consumer Reports has analyzed the steroid inhalers based on their effectiveness, safety, dosing convenience, and cost. This 2-page brief is a summary of an 18-page report you can access on the Internet at You can also learn about other drugs we’ve analyzed on this free Web site. Our independent evaluations are based on scientific reviews conducted by the Oregon Health and Science University-based Drug Effectiveness Review Project. Grants from the Engelberg Foundation and National Library of Medicine help fund Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs. DO YOU NEED AN INHALED STEROID? Inhaled steroids reduce and help prevent inflammation and mucus build-up in your airways. They help prevent asthma attacks and keep you breathing easier if you have either asthma or COPD. Not everyone needs an inhaled steroid drug. Sometimes, prevention (especially quitting smoking) and lifestyle adjustments work well. But, if you or your child have persistent asthma (see below), your doctor is very likely to pre- scribe an inhaled steroid. If you have mild COPD, your doctor may discourage regular use of an inhaled steroid. If you have moderate to severe COPD, however, your doctor may advise try- ing one for several months to see if it helps. © Consumers Union 2006 Our Recommendations Asthma & Chronic Lung Disease E

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