Previous studies have shown that inhaled corticosteroids can affect bone metabolismin adults. A study to assess the effect of inhaled beclomethasone, 300 to 800 μg/day for at least 6 months (mean 25 months), was therefore undertaken in children. In part 1 of the study, 18 children with asthma, aged 4 to 17 years (mean 10.1 years), were compared with an age- and sex-matched group of children with asthma not treated with corticosterolds. In part 2, eight more pairs were compared. Comparisons were also made with 61 healthy children. Bone mineral density measured by radiographic absorptiometry, and bone mienral content measured by single-photon absorptiometry and by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, showed no significant differences. Serum levels of calcium, magnesium, zinc, total alkaline phosphatase, bone specific alkaline phosphatase, parathyroid hormone, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D also showed no differences. The activity of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase, a marker of bone resorption, was significantly lower in the beclomethasone group than in both the asthma control and the normal control groups, but urine calcium excretion did not differ. Patients with asthma had lower serum osteocalcin and higher serum copper levels than control subjects without asthma, but treatment with beclomethasone did not affect these values. We conclude that inhaled beclomethasone (up to 800 μg/day) does not reduce bone mineralization or increase bone resorption. Effects on bone formation were difficult to assess because asthma per se caused a significant reduction in osteocalcin, a sensitive marker of bone formation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health