Safety of inhaled corticosteroids for treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Maria Gabriella Matera, Vittorio Cardaci, Mario Cazzola, Paola Rogliani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The frequent use of inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs), especially at higher doses, has been accompanied by concern about both systemic and local side effects. Patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are more at risk from side effects, likely because of the use of higher doses of ICS in COPD to overcome corticosteroid unresponsiveness.Areas covered: There is considerable concern about increased incidence of pneumonia, osteoporosis and hyperglycemia in diabetic patients and cataracts. The local side effects of ICSs, such as hoarseness and pharyngeal discomfort, oral and oropharyngeal candidiasis, cough during inhalation, and a sensation of thirst, are not usually serious but are of clinical importance because they may lead to patients discontinuing therapy.Expert opinion: The possibility that ICSs induce adverse side effects should not lead us to avoid their use in patients in whom clinical evidence suggests that they may be helpful. However, clinicians should balance the potential benefits of ICSs in COPD against their potential side effects and always consider using the lowest possible dose to achieve the best possible management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-541
Number of pages9
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Safety
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Inhaled corticosteroids
  • Local side effects
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pneumonia
  • Systemic side effects.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Medicine(all)


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