Prednisone and other corticosteroids

Weigh the gains and challenges of corticosteroids, these types of as prednisone, when picking a medicine.

By Mayo Clinic Personnel

Corticosteroid medicines — such as cortisone, hydrocortisone and prednisone — are practical in managing a lot of circumstances, these types of as rashes, inflammatory bowel illness and bronchial asthma. But these medicines also have a danger of various side effects.

How do corticosteroids get the job done?

When recommended in doses that exceed your body’s common concentrations, corticosteroids suppress inflammation. This can reduce the symptoms and symptoms of inflammatory circumstances, these types of as arthritis, bronchial asthma or pores and skin rashes.

Corticosteroids also suppress your immune system, which can support manage circumstances in which your immune system mistakenly attacks its have tissues.

How are corticosteroids made use of?

Corticosteroid medicines are made use of to handle rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel illness (IBD), bronchial asthma, allergies and a lot of other circumstances. These medicines also support suppress the immune system in purchase to prevent organ rejection in transplant recipients. Corticosteroids also handle Addison’s illness, a reasonably uncommon ailment exactly where the adrenal glands aren’t equipped to generate even the minimum amount quantity of corticosteroid that the entire body wants.

Corticosteroids are administered in a lot of diverse ways, dependent on the ailment currently being addressed:

  • By mouth. Tablets, capsules or syrups support handle the inflammation and suffering connected with certain chronic circumstances, these types of as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
  • By inhaler and intranasal spray. These kinds support manage inflammation connected with bronchial asthma and nasal allergies.
  • In the type of eyedrops. This type can help handle swelling right after eye medical procedures.
  • Topically. Lotions and ointments can support heal a lot of pores and skin circumstances.
  • By injection. This type is typically made use of to handle muscle and joint symptoms and symptoms, these types of as the suffering and inflammation of tendinitis.

What side effects can corticosteroids cause?

Corticosteroids have a danger of side effects, some of which can cause serious overall health problems. When you know what side effects are doable, you can get actions to manage their effect.

Facet effects of oral corticosteroids

Due to the fact oral corticosteroids have an effect on your total entire body as a substitute of just a unique area, this route of administration is the most possible to cause sizeable side effects. Facet effects rely on the dose of medicine you acquire and may possibly incorporate:

  • Fluid retention, producing swelling in your reduced legs
  • Significant blood tension
  • Issues with temper swings, memory, habits, and other psychological effects, these types of as confusion or delirium
  • Upset tummy
  • Excess weight get, with excess fat deposits in your abdomen, your encounter and the again of your neck

When getting oral corticosteroids for a longer period time period, you may possibly encounter:

  • Elevated tension in the eyes (glaucoma)
  • Clouding of the lens in 1 or both of those eyes (cataracts)
  • A spherical encounter (moon encounter)
  • Significant blood sugar, which can set off or worsen diabetic issues
  • Increased danger of bacterial infections, specially with typical bacterial, viral and fungal microorganisms
  • Thinning bones (osteoporosis) and fractures
  • Suppressed adrenal gland hormone creation that may possibly final result in a wide variety of symptoms and symptoms, such as intense exhaustion, loss of appetite, nausea and muscle weak point
  • Skinny pores and skin, bruising and slower wound therapeutic

Facet effects of inhaled corticosteroids

When using an inhaled corticosteroid, some of the drug may possibly deposit in your mouth and throat as a substitute of producing it to your lungs. This can cause:

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

If you gargle and rinse your mouth with h2o — don’t swallow — right after every puff on your corticosteroid inhaler, you may possibly be equipped to keep away from mouth and throat irritation. Some scientists have speculated that inhaled corticosteroid medicines may possibly slow development prices in young children who use them for bronchial asthma.

Facet effects of topical corticosteroids

Topical corticosteroids can lead to thin pores and skin, crimson pores and skin lesions and pimples.

Facet effects of injected corticosteroids

Injected corticosteroids can cause short-term side effects close to the website of the injection, such as pores and skin thinning, loss of coloration in the pores and skin, and intense suffering — also regarded as article-injection flare. Other symptoms and symptoms may possibly incorporate facial flushing, sleeplessness and high blood sugar. Medical doctors usually restrict corticosteroid injections to 3 or four a yr, dependent on every patient’s condition.

Minimize your danger of corticosteroid side effects

To get the most gain from corticosteroid drugs with the least quantity of danger:

  • Talk to your medical professional about hoping reduced doses or intermittent dosing. More recent kinds of corticosteroids arrive in various strengths and lengths of action. Talk to your medical professional about using small-dose, short-time period drugs or getting oral corticosteroids each other day as a substitute of day-to-day.
  • Talk to your medical professional about switching to nonoral kinds of corticosteroids. Inhaled corticosteroids for bronchial asthma, for example, arrive at lung surfaces directly, decreasing the relaxation of your body’s publicity to them and top to fewer side effects.
  • Talk to your medical professional if you should really get calcium and vitamin D nutritional supplements. Extended-time period corticosteroid treatment may possibly cause thinning bones (osteoporosis). Talk with your medical professional about getting calcium and vitamin D nutritional supplements to support protect your bones.
  • Consider treatment when discontinuing treatment. If you get oral corticosteroids for a long time, your adrenal glands may possibly generate less of their all-natural steroid hormones. To give your adrenal glands time to recover this purpose, your medical professional may possibly reduce your dosage progressively. If the dosage is diminished way too promptly, your adrenal glands may possibly not have time to recover and you may possibly encounter exhaustion, entire body aches and lightheadedness.
  • Don a clinical warn bracelet. This or equivalent identification is suggested if you’ve got been using corticosteroids for a long time.
  • See your medical professional consistently. If you’re getting long-time period corticosteroid treatment, see your medical professional consistently to examine for side effects.

Weigh the challenges and gains of corticosteroids

Corticosteroids may possibly cause a range of side effects. But they may possibly also minimize the inflammation, suffering and soreness of a lot of diverse disorders and circumstances. Talk with your medical professional to support you greater fully grasp the challenges and gains of corticosteroids and make educated options about your overall health.