It has been approximately 15 years since the introduction of corticosteroid drugs for the treatment of allergic disorders.1 The potency of these drugs is now widely recognized. Also recognized are associated undesirable side effects and circumstances that seemingly perpetuate a need for these drugs.
It is toward the treatment of asthma, however, that this discussion is primarily directed.
The corticosteroid drugs have significantly extended the treatment of the asthmatic patient. However, some doubt exists among physicians as to the proper place such steroids should occupy in the management of asthma. Concern does not seem to arise from lack of information regarding their value but, instead, from apprehension about their side effects and about starting a therapeutic program which may prove difficult to stop. To a degree, such apprehension is indeed well justified. Yet, there is a middle ground wherein one neither uses these drugs injudiciously nor withholds them from