BOSTON (CBS)- A warning for people with asthma.  A new study finds some asthmatics are taking harmful doses of steroids that could be putting their health at risk.

Oral steroids, like prednisone, reduce inflammation and are often used to ease the breathing of patients in the throes of an asthma attack.  But prolonged or excessive doses can put patients at higher risk for diabetes, osteoporosis and hormonal abnormalities.

Researchers in the Netherlands studied more than two thousand patients with severe asthma who were on high doses of inhaled steroids and found that almost a third of them were also taking harmfully high doses of oral steroids.

Inhaled steroids can reduce the need for oral steroids.

But many patients weren’t using their inhaled steroids consistently or properly.

They say doctors should focus on improving inhaler compliance and technique and offer other medications called biologics which can reduce the need for oral steroids.

Dr. Mallika Marshall

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