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26-05-2010 | Respiratory | Article

Inhaled corticosteroids may protect against atherosclerosis


Free abstract

MedWire News: Results from a Japanese study suggest that treatment with inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) is associated with a reduced risk for atherosclerosis.

Writing in the European Respiratory Journal, Michio Otsuki (Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine) and team explain that “although inflammation is an important component of atherosclerosis, it is unknown whether ICSs as anti-inflammatory drugs prevent atherosclerosis.”

To investigate, the team studied 150 patients with asthma, aged less than 65 years, who had used ICSs for at least the preceding 2 years. These patients were matched for age, gender, and atherosclerotic risk factors (diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and smoking status) with 150 controls without asthma who had never used ICSs.

All the participants underwent ultrasonography to assess carotid artery wall thickness and examine for the presence of carotid atherosclerosis.

Analysis revealed that mean and maximal carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) was significantly reduced in asthmatic patients compared with controls, at 0.93 versus 1.01 mm, and 1.02 versus 1.18 mm, respectively.

In total, 51 (34.0%) asthma patients had carotid atherosclerosis, defined as a mean IMT of 1.1 mm or greater and/or the presence of a plaque, compared with 69 (46.0%) controls.

Stepwise multiple logistic-regression analysis revealed that ICS use at a mean dose of 100 µg/day for 2 years was significantly associated with a reduced risk for carotid atherosclerosis, at an odds ratio of 0.86.

Furthermore, the effects of ICS treatment on the risk for carotid atherosclerosis were dose-dependent, the researchers note.

Otsuki and team conclude: “Carotid atherosclerosis was reduced in asthmatic patients treated with ICSs, compared with matched controls.

“The present study suggests that ICSs may have protective effects against atherosclerosis.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Mark Cowen

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