Prednisone and other corticosteroids

Weigh the benefits and dangers of corticosteroids, such as prednisone, when picking out a medication.

By Mayo Clinic Staff members

Corticosteroid medicines — including cortisone, hydrocortisone and prednisone — are useful in managing several problems, such as rashes, inflammatory bowel disorder and bronchial asthma. But these medicines also carry a chance of several facet results.

How do corticosteroids function?

When approved in doses that exceed your body’s regular stages, corticosteroids suppress inflammation. This can cut down the indications and signs and symptoms of inflammatory problems, such as arthritis, bronchial asthma or pores and skin rashes.

Corticosteroids also suppress your immune process, which can help regulate problems in which your immune process mistakenly assaults its have tissues.

How are corticosteroids utilized?

Corticosteroid medicines are utilized to address rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD), bronchial asthma, allergies and several other problems. These medicines also help suppress the immune process in buy to avert organ rejection in transplant recipients. Corticosteroids also address Addison’s disorder, a comparatively uncommon issue in which the adrenal glands aren’t ready to produce even the least quantity of corticosteroid that the entire body demands.

Corticosteroids are administered in several unique approaches, dependent on the issue being taken care of:

  • By mouth. Tablets, capsules or syrups help address the inflammation and soreness linked with certain long-term problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
  • By inhaler and intranasal spray. These varieties help regulate inflammation linked with bronchial asthma and nasal allergies.
  • In the form of eyedrops. This form allows address inflammation after eye surgery.
  • Topically. Lotions and ointments can help recover several pores and skin problems.
  • By injection. This form is generally utilized to address muscle and joint indications and signs and symptoms, such as the soreness and inflammation of tendinitis.

What facet results can corticosteroids trigger?

Corticosteroids carry a chance of facet results, some of which can trigger serious wellbeing troubles. When you know what facet results are doable, you can consider measures to regulate their effects.

Facet results of oral corticosteroids

Mainly because oral corticosteroids have an effect on your total entire body as an alternative of just a particular place, this route of administration is the most most likely to trigger sizeable facet results. Facet results count on the dose of medication you get and might include things like:

  • Fluid retention, leading to inflammation in your reduced legs
  • Substantial blood strain
  • Complications with mood swings, memory, habits, and other psychological results, such as confusion or delirium
  • Upset abdomen
  • Body weight gain, with unwanted fat deposits in your stomach, your experience and the back again of your neck

When having oral corticosteroids longer phrase, you might encounter:

  • Elevated strain in the eyes (glaucoma)
  • Clouding of the lens in one particular or each eyes (cataracts)
  • A spherical experience (moon experience)
  • Substantial blood sugar, which can trigger or worsen diabetes
  • Enhanced chance of infections, especially with widespread bacterial, viral and fungal microorganisms
  • Thinning bones (osteoporosis) and fractures
  • Suppressed adrenal gland hormone manufacturing that might consequence in a range of indications and signs and symptoms, including extreme exhaustion, decline of urge for food, nausea and muscle weak spot
  • Skinny pores and skin, bruising and slower wound healing

Facet results of inhaled corticosteroids

When working with an inhaled corticosteroid, some of the drug might deposit in your mouth and throat as an alternative of earning it to your lungs. This can trigger:

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

If you gargle and rinse your mouth with h2o — never swallow — after just about every puff on your corticosteroid inhaler, you might be ready to prevent mouth and throat irritation. Some researchers have speculated that inhaled corticosteroid medicines might sluggish growth charges in little ones who use them for bronchial asthma.

Facet results of topical corticosteroids

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

Facet results of injected corticosteroids

Injected corticosteroids can trigger momentary facet results in the vicinity of the web-site of the injection, including pores and skin thinning, decline of coloration in the pores and skin, and extreme soreness — also identified as post-injection flare. Other indications and signs and symptoms might include things like facial flushing, sleeplessness and higher blood sugar. Doctors commonly limit corticosteroid injections to three or 4 a yr, dependent on just about every patient’s problem.

Decrease your chance of corticosteroid facet results

To get the most profit from corticosteroid remedies with the minimum quantity of chance:

  • Inquire your physician about striving reduced doses or intermittent dosing. More recent varieties of corticosteroids occur in several strengths and lengths of motion. Inquire your physician about working with reduced-dose, quick-phrase remedies or having oral corticosteroids just about every other working day as an alternative of each day.
  • Converse to your physician about switching to nonoral varieties of corticosteroids. Inhaled corticosteroids for bronchial asthma, for illustration, attain lung surfaces right, cutting down the rest of your body’s exposure to them and major to much less facet results.
  • Inquire your physician if you should consider calcium and vitamin D dietary supplements. Very long-phrase corticosteroid therapy might trigger thinning bones (osteoporosis). Converse with your physician about having calcium and vitamin D dietary supplements to help protect your bones.
  • Just take treatment when discontinuing therapy. If you consider oral corticosteroids for a long time, your adrenal glands might produce fewer of their all-natural steroid hormones. To give your adrenal glands time to get better this purpose, your physician might cut down your dosage gradually. If the dosage is decreased way too swiftly, your adrenal glands might not have time to get better and you might encounter exhaustion, entire body aches and lightheadedness.
  • Dress in a healthcare inform bracelet. This or very similar identification is encouraged if you’ve got been working with corticosteroids for a long time.
  • See your physician frequently. If you’re having long-phrase corticosteroid therapy, see your physician frequently to test for facet results.

Weigh the dangers and benefits of corticosteroids

Corticosteroids might trigger a selection of facet results. But they might also alleviate the inflammation, soreness and irritation of several unique diseases and problems. Converse with your physician to help you much better comprehend the dangers and benefits of corticosteroids and make informed selections about your wellbeing.