Aim: To assess prevalence of behavioural problems in preschool children with asthma with electronically verified exposure to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS).
Methods: Cross-sectional study of 81 children 2–5 years of age using daily ICS for persistent asthma. During 3 months’ follow-up, adherence to ICS treatment was recorded by an electronical logging device (Smartinhaler®). Parents completed the Child Behavior Checklist 1.5–5 years (CBCL 1.5–5) to assess behavioural problems; results were compared to a published reference group of healthy children.
Results: The median (interquartile range) adherence to ICS was 92 (78–97) %. There was no difference in total CBCL score between children with asthma on ICS (mean, [SD] 32.10 [1.99]) and the reference group (33.30 [1.87], 95% CI for difference −6.62 to 4.22). Children with asthma were more likely to have somatic complaints (95% CI for difference 0.64 to 1.96) and less likely to have anxious/depressive symptoms (95% CI for difference −1.57 to −0.25) than the reference group. CBCL scores were not significantly related to the electronically measured adherence rates.
Conclusions: Maintenance treatment with ICS, taken daily as prescribed, is not associated with an increased risk of behavioural problems in preschool children.