Prednisone and other corticosteroids

Weigh the benefits and challenges of corticosteroids, these as prednisone, when choosing a medication.

By Mayo Clinic Personnel

Corticosteroid medications — which includes cortisone, hydrocortisone and prednisone — are beneficial in managing many problems, these as rashes, inflammatory bowel disorder and asthma. But these medications also carry a danger of several side effects.

How do corticosteroids operate?

When approved in doses that exceed your body’s standard amounts, corticosteroids suppress swelling. This can decrease the signs and signs and symptoms of inflammatory problems, these as arthritis, asthma or pores and skin rashes.

Corticosteroids also suppress your immune method, which can enable control problems in which your immune method mistakenly assaults its have tissues.

How are corticosteroids employed?

Corticosteroid medications are employed to treat rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD), asthma, allergies and many other problems. These medications also enable suppress the immune method in buy to reduce organ rejection in transplant recipients. Corticosteroids also treat Addison’s disorder, a somewhat unusual situation exactly where the adrenal glands usually are not capable to produce even the minimum amount of money of corticosteroid that the entire body demands.

Corticosteroids are administered in many distinct means, dependent on the situation currently being taken care of:

  • By mouth. Tablets, capsules or syrups enable treat the swelling and discomfort affiliated with sure chronic problems, these as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
  • By inhaler and intranasal spray. These varieties enable control swelling affiliated with asthma and nasal allergies.
  • In the kind of eyedrops. This kind will help treat inflammation immediately after eye operation.
  • Topically. Creams and ointments can enable mend many pores and skin problems.
  • By injection. This kind is normally employed to treat muscle mass and joint signs and signs and symptoms, these as the discomfort and swelling of tendinitis.

What side effects can corticosteroids trigger?

Corticosteroids carry a danger of side effects, some of which can trigger severe well being problems. When you know what side effects are doable, you can take ways to control their affect.

Facet effects of oral corticosteroids

Since oral corticosteroids have an effect on your overall entire body alternatively of just a certain spot, this route of administration is the most most likely to trigger important side effects. Facet effects rely on the dose of medication you receive and may well include things like:

  • Fluid retention, causing inflammation in your decreased legs
  • Large blood strain
  • Issues with temper swings, memory, actions, and other psychological effects, these as confusion or delirium
  • Upset belly
  • Weight acquire, with fat deposits in your abdomen, your experience and the back of your neck

When getting oral corticosteroids longer time period, you may well knowledge:

  • Elevated strain in the eyes (glaucoma)
  • Clouding of the lens in just one or each eyes (cataracts)
  • A spherical experience (moon experience)
  • Large blood sugar, which can cause or worsen diabetic issues
  • Greater danger of bacterial infections, specifically with frequent bacterial, viral and fungal microorganisms
  • Thinning bones (osteoporosis) and fractures
  • Suppressed adrenal gland hormone manufacturing that may well result in a range of signs and signs and symptoms, which includes significant fatigue, loss of hunger, nausea and muscle mass weak spot
  • Slim pores and skin, bruising and slower wound healing

Facet effects of inhaled corticosteroids

When working with an inhaled corticosteroid, some of the drug may well deposit in your mouth and throat alternatively of building it to your lungs. This can trigger:

  • Fungal infection in the mouth (oral thrush)
  • Hoarseness

If you gargle and rinse your mouth with drinking water — never swallow — immediately after every puff on your corticosteroid inhaler, you may well be capable to stay clear of mouth and throat irritation. Some scientists have speculated that inhaled corticosteroid medications may well sluggish development rates in youngsters who use them for asthma.

Facet effects of topical corticosteroids

Topical corticosteroids can lead to slim pores and skin, red pores and skin lesions and acne.

Facet effects of injected corticosteroids

Injected corticosteroids can trigger momentary side effects around the website of the injection, which includes pores and skin thinning, loss of colour in the pores and skin, and intensive discomfort — also recognised as post-injection flare. Other signs and signs and symptoms may well include things like facial flushing, insomnia and substantial blood sugar. Health professionals ordinarily restrict corticosteroid injections to a few or 4 a 12 months, dependent on every patient’s situation.

Reduce your danger of corticosteroid side effects

To get the most benefit from corticosteroid remedies with the minimum amount of money of danger:

  • Talk to your medical doctor about trying decreased doses or intermittent dosing. Newer varieties of corticosteroids arrive in several strengths and lengths of motion. Talk to your medical doctor about working with very low-dose, small-time period remedies or getting oral corticosteroids just about every other day alternatively of day-to-day.
  • Communicate to your medical doctor about switching to nonoral varieties of corticosteroids. Inhaled corticosteroids for asthma, for example, get to lung surfaces right, minimizing the relaxation of your body’s exposure to them and leading to much less side effects.
  • Talk to your medical doctor if you need to take calcium and vitamin D supplements. Extensive-time period corticosteroid treatment may well trigger thinning bones (osteoporosis). Communicate with your medical doctor about getting calcium and vitamin D supplements to enable secure your bones.
  • Acquire care when discontinuing treatment. If you take oral corticosteroids for a extensive time, your adrenal glands may well produce fewer of their normal steroid hormones. To give your adrenal glands time to get better this function, your medical doctor may well decrease your dosage progressively. If the dosage is reduced also promptly, your adrenal glands may well not have time to get better and you may well knowledge fatigue, entire body aches and lightheadedness.
  • Dress in a health-related alert bracelet. This or identical identification is advisable if you’ve got been working with corticosteroids for a extensive time.
  • See your medical doctor consistently. If you are getting extensive-time period corticosteroid treatment, see your medical doctor consistently to examine for side effects.

Weigh the challenges and benefits of corticosteroids

Corticosteroids may well trigger a vary of side effects. But they may well also decrease the swelling, discomfort and irritation of many distinct health conditions and problems. Communicate with your medical doctor to enable you improved fully grasp the challenges and benefits of corticosteroids and make educated choices about your well being.