Improper asthma medicine use linked to infertility, study finds

Women with asthma who use only short-acting asthma relievers take longer to become pregnant than other women, according to international research led by the University of Adelaide, Australia. However, the study of more than 5,600 women in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland also shows that women with asthma who use long-acting asthma preventers conceive as quickly as other women.

Published in the European Respiratory Journal, the study was led by Dr. Luke Grzeskowiak from the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute. He says the results provide reassurance for asthmatic women that using inhaled corticosteroids to prevent symptoms does not appear to reduce fertility.

“Five to 10 percent of all women around the world have asthma and it is one of the most common chronic medical conditions in women of reproductive age,” Dr. Grzeskowiak says. The researchers examined data from the international Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE) study, which recruited more than 5,600 women expecting their first babies in the early stages of pregnancy. Ten percent of women in the study said they had asthma and, overall, these women took longer to get pregnant.

When researchers separated this group according to the types of asthma treatments they were using, they found no difference in fertility between women using long-acting asthma treatments and women without asthma. Women using short-acting reliever medication (known as beta-agonists) took 20 percent longer to conceive on average. They were also 30 percent more likely to have taken more than a year to conceive, which the researchers defined as the threshold for infertility.

If you have asthma and are trying to conceive, talk to your doctors about this important information.

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