This page is about steroids that can be taken as tablets, liquids, creams and eye drops and ointments. Information about steroid injections is covered on a different page. You might not be able to start steroids if you have an infection, or if you have any wounds on your body, as steroids might delay these getting better or cover up some of your symptoms.
Steroids might affect some medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart or blood pressure problems, or mental health issues. If you have systemic sclerosis , prednisolone could cause problems with your kidneys at certain doses, so you might not be able to take this type of steroid. Some other skin problems, such as rosacea, acne and ulcers, can be made worse by steroid creams so you might not be able to take them if you have any of these conditions.
If you normally wear contact lenses, you might need to avoid wearing these while having treatment with steroid eye drops. Steroids are taken in different ways, and the dosage may vary depending on the condition you have. The table below gives an idea of how often you might need to take steroids.
You will be given the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time, to reduce the risk of side effects. Your dose will probably be reduced gradually as your symptoms improve, or your doctor might suggest a weaker medication. As with all medicines, some people will have side effects.
You might also be given a drug called a proton pump inhibitor or another medicine to protect your stomach. Treatment with steroids may cause changes in mood — you may feel very high or very low. This may be more common in people with a previous history of mood disturbance. Taking steroid tablets for a long time can make you more likely to get infections.
See your doctor or the person treating you straight away if you develop chickenpox, shingles or measles, or if you come into contact with someone who has any of these illnesses. Sometimes these diseases can be severe in people who are taking steroids, and you might need to have other treatment before you start to get better.
Steroids taken for a long time can also cause your muscles to become weaker, and they might occasionally affect periods in women. If you're taking high doses of steroids, or if you're on them for more than three weeks, you'll need to carry a steroid card.
This will have information on your dose and how long you've been taking them for. Your doctor, rheumatology nurse or pharmacist should give you a steroid card if you need one. Make sure any change to your dose of steroid is updated on the card. Steroid treatment can stop the body producing natural hormones, which can be dangerous if you get ill, have an accident or need an operation.
Keeping the card with you will help any other doctor who treats you to manage your care correctly. If you have any questions or concerns about this, talk to the healthcare professional who prescribed your steroids. The person treating you might change the dose of your medications if needed. Steroids can affect the eyes, for example by making glaucoma worse or causing cataracts. They can also cause a problem with your eyes known as serous chorioretinopathy see-russ core-ee-oh-ret-in-op-ath-ee , which happens when fluid collects in part of the eye.
If you notice any changes in your eyesight, such as your vision becoming blurry, be sure to let your doctor know as soon as possible. This can cause thinning of the skin, stretch marks, and the face to become rounder, but it usually clears up once steroids are stopped. If growth is slowed, they might be referred to a specialist doctor for advice.
Making sensible food choices and including some physical activity in your daily routine should help you avoid putting on weight. Steroids can weaken bones, which can lead to a condition known as osteoporosis. Your doctor may advise you to take drugs called bisphosphonates , or calcium and vitamin D supplements , along with the steroids to help prevent this.
Regular exercise , especially things that involve your bones carrying the weight of your body, such as walking, can also help to reduce the risk of getting osteoporosis. You should also make sure you get enough calcium in your diet , and avoid smoking and drinking too much alcohol. Steroids can be taken along with other drugs. Both alcohol and steroid tablets could upset your stomach. If you have indigestion or other stomach problems after starting steroids, then alcohol is likely to add to the problem, so you may want to cut back on how much alcohol you drink.
You can find out more about units of alcohol at www. Current guidelines say that some steroid tablets, including prednisolone, can be taken during pregnancy. You should discuss the risks with your doctor if you have any concerns.
This is most common with steroid tablets. The side effects will usually pass once you finish the treatment, but do not stop taking your medicine without speaking to your doctor. Stopping a prescribed course of medicine can cause further unpleasant side effects withdrawal symptoms. You can report any suspected side effect to the Yellow Card Scheme.
Steroids are a man-made version of hormones normally produced by the adrenal glands which are 2 small glands found above the kidneys. When taken in doses higher than the amount your body normally produces, steroids reduce redness and swelling inflammation. This can help with inflammatory conditions such as asthma and eczema.
Steroids also reduce the activity of the immune system, which is the body's natural defence against illness and infection. This can help treat autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, which are caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking the body. Page last reviewed: 14 January Next review due: 14 January
|Why was i prescribed steroids||Can I exercise if I have atopic dermatitis? Diabetes medication Corticosteroids can decrease the effectiveness of medications used to treat diabetes. Your doctor may ask questions about your fitness activities and what kinds of dietary supplements and other substances you use. In the United States, you need a prescription to get any anabolic steroid. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital.|
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Other signs and symptoms may include facial flushing, insomnia and high blood sugar. Doctors usually limit corticosteroid injections to three or four a year, depending on each patient's situation. Corticosteroids may cause a range of side effects. But they may also relieve the inflammation, pain and discomfort of many different diseases and conditions. Talk with your doctor to help you better understand the risks and benefits of corticosteroids and make informed choices about your health. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products.
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Sign up now. Prednisone and other corticosteroids Weigh the benefits and risks of corticosteroids, such as prednisone, when choosing a medication. By Mayo Clinic Staff. Show references Ritter JM, et al. The pituitary and the adrenal cortex. Elsevier; Accessed Oct. Grennan D, et al. Steroid side effects. Saag KG, et al. Major side effects of systemic glucocorticoids. Major side effects of inhaled glucocorticoids. Roberts WN, et al.
Joint aspiration or injection in adults: Complications. Nieman LK. Pharmacologic use of glucocorticoids. Long-term glucocorticoid therapy. Mayo Clinic; Wilkinson JM expert opinion. Mayo Clinic. Acetyl-L-carnitine: Can it relieve MS fatigue? Addison's disease Adrenal fatigue: What causes it?
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