What Are Corticosteroids?Steroid tablets, also called corticosteroid tablets, are a type of anti-inflammatory medicine used to treat a range of conditions. If it's almost time for your next dose, skip coricosteroid one you missed. Accidentally taking too many steroid tablets is unlikely to be harmful if it's somatropin price south africa one-off. Speak to your doctor or a pharmacist if you're worried. If you've been taking steroid tablets for corticosteroid pills or liquid than a few days, you usually need to reduce your dose gradually. Taking steroid liqquid for less than three weeks is unlikely to cause any significant side effects. But you corticosteroid pills or liquid get some side effects if you need to take them for longer or at a high dose.
Choice and use of oral corticosteroids
Corticosteroids are a type of anti—inflammatory medication that is effective in the treatment and prevention of allergic reactions and asthma attacks. While there are several types of corticosteroids, all work on the same principal — reducing or preventing inflammation. Most corticosteroids used to treat allergies and asthma reduce or prevent inflammation in the respiratory tract to relieve or avoid airway blockages.
Corticosteroids are considered the most effective medication currently available for the treatment of inflammation in the bronchial tubes. This drug type can be administered through several different methods.
Inhaled corticosteroids are usually prescribed for the prevention of asthma or allergy symptoms. While most types of this medication have many side effects associated with them, inhaled and nasal spray corticosteroids usually affect only the inside of the lungs and sinuses, with very little of the medication penetrating into the bloodstream. This targeted delivery method is able to prevent many of the side effects experienced with more systemic forms of corticosteroids.
Oral and injectable forms of corticosteroids must travel throughout the entire body to reach problem areas. This allows the drug to come into contact with multiple organs and tissues in the body, making side effects more pronounced. As a result, this form of corticosteroid is most suitable as a short—term or occasional therapy.
However, some conditions e. Corticosteroids work by mimicking the hormone cortisol, which the adrenal gland naturally produces to protect against illness. It is unclear how exactly corticosteroids are able to so effectively reduce inflammation, but studies have shown that the medications lower the amount of chemicals released by some inflammatory cells.
This leads to decreased swelling in inflamed areas. When used to treat allergies and asthma, corticosteroids decrease inflammation in the airways and reduce mucus production. This opens the airways, permitting more airflow and treating or preventing symptoms such as shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
Corticosteroids also keep the cells from responding to additional stimuli that may cause further inflammation. This reduction in hyperreactivity excessive sensitivity makes the medication useful as a preventative treatment. Individuals should never stop taking a corticosteroid treatment abruptly as serious side effects can result. However, some physicians have recently begun to recommend corticosteroid treatments taken as—needed for the treatment of mild asthma.
A physician can provide a schedule for safely discontinuing the use of corticosteroids. The different forms of corticosteroids are useful at treating different allergy and asthma conditions:. Patients should not take corticosteroid drugs if they have been diagnosed with any of the following conditions:. Some side effects of corticosteroid drugs are considered more dangerous, though rare. An individual should immediately contact a physician if they experience any of the following side effects:.
Corticosteroids can also cause existing infections to worsen. Therefore, patients taking corticosteroids should contact their physician if fever or any other signs or symptoms of infection develop. Patients should consult their physicians before taking any additional prescriptions, over—the—counter medications, nutritional supplements or herbal medications.
Of particular concern to individuals taking corticosteroid drugs are:. Studies have show that daily use of almost all types of inhaled corticosteroid drugs while pregnant at normal dosage do not cause birth defects or other problems.
However, animal studies have demonstrated that oral and intravenous use of corticosteroids during pregnancy can cause birth defects. Using a higher dosage of corticosteroids has also been shown to cause unwanted effects during a pregnancy, including slower infant growth and adrenal gland problems. These problems were more likely to occur if the higher dosage was taken in the first trimester. Nasal corticosteroids are generally considered to be safer than intravenous or oral corticosteroids.
Using a nasal corticosteroid in place of an oral or intravenous corticosteroid during pregnancy is often recommended by a physician, when possible. Most physicians agree that the rewards of using corticosteroids on some types of conditions e.
However, pregnant women should always discuss the use of corticosteroids with their physicians before using the medication. Breastfeeding women should exercise caution when nursing. While most types of corticosteroid drugs do pass into breast milk, they are generally present at such low levels that it does not affect the infant. However, the corticosteroid dexamethasone has been linked to slow growth in nursing infants when used by the mother. Breastfeeding mothers should consult their physicians before taking corticosteroids.
Corticosteroids have a range of side effects that tend to be more pronounced in children than in adults. A child should never take any type of corticosteroid treatment without first seeing a physician. Children who are using corticosteroid drugs and contract certain infections e.
To avoid this, a physician may recommend vaccinations for some types of infection or suggest an alternative treatment, if appropriate. Children and teenagers who take corticosteroids can experience slowed growth, particularly if the medication has been taken for a long period of time.
This is due to the medications interference with the function of the adrenal gland. Because of the side effects, some physicians have begun to recommend that children with mild asthma use corticosteroids on an as—needed basis. An injection of corticosteroids is often given to young children who have a hard time swallowing the foul—tasting liquid form of the medication. Some children vomit after taking the liquid form. The effectiveness of a corticosteroid injection is comparable to the liquid form.
Corticosteroid treatments may be less effective for young infants less than 1 year old. Some older individuals will experience side effects that are more pronounced. Older adults have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure or osteoporosis a disorder in which the bones lose mass and density when taking corticosteroid drugs.
Women, in particular, are at risk for this condition. However, recent research has suggested that the risk of non vertebral fracture in older adults is not higher in the short term when inhaled corticosteroid treatments are used.
Patients at risk may also benefit from taking calcium supplements, undergoing hormone replacement therapy and exercising regularly. Patients over the age of 50 also risk the development of cataracts clouding of the lens of the eye and glaucoma a group of diseases that can damage the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss.
For this reason, older adults taking high doses of corticosteroids may be advised to undergo eye examinations. This site is for information and support only. About About corticosteroids Corticosteroids are a type of anti—inflammatory medication that is effective in the treatment and prevention of allergic reactions and asthma attacks. Medication is breathed deep into the lungs where it comes into contact with the mucous membranes of the lungs.
Medication is inhaled into the nose and sinuses where it comes into contact with the walls of the sinuses. With this form of treatment the medication does not reach the lungs. Medication is applied directly to the skin to treat that skin area. Medication is swallowed and absorbed into the bloodstream where it spreads throughout the body.
Medication is injected under the skin through a needle and syringe. It enters the bloodstream and spreads throughout the body. Types and differences of corticosteroids The different forms of corticosteroids are useful at treating different allergy and asthma conditions: Inhaled forms of corticosteroid are considered by physicians to be the best form of treatment for long—term control of persistent asthma and allergy symptoms.
They are taken regularly whether symptoms are present or not to prevent attacks. These may need to be taken for weeks or months before symptoms are completely under control. Corticosteroids by mouth and injection are used to quickly get control over allergy and asthma episodes e. It is often recommended when high doses of inhaled corticosteroids fail to control symptoms.
This type of treatment is usually not suitable for long—term use due to the increased risk of side effects. Nasal and topical corticosteroids are used short—term to relieve minor allergy symptoms. Nasal sprays are useful for treating sinus inflammation, while topical creams can effectively treat rashes on the skin. Some oral corticosteroids are designed to be used for several days to control the recurrence of allergy or asthma episodes. They are discontinued once the individual has recovered or has begun taking another type of regular treatment e.
Conditions treated with corticosteroids Corticosteroid drugs are prescribed for a variety of conditions, including: Allergies Exaggerated or inappropriate reaction of the immune system to any substance that, in most people, causes no symptoms. Applying corticosteroids directly to the mucous membranes using inhalers or nasal sprays can reduce or prevent inflammation due to contact with an allergen.
Asthma Condition in which the airways become blocked or narrowed, causing shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Corticosteroid medications are used to reduce or prevent inflammation and narrowing in the bronchial tubes.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease A chronic, progressive disease of the lungs that reduces airflow over time, causing coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Corticosteroids may be recommended in patients who are not benefitting from other therapy. Atopic dermatitis Skin condition usually characterized by itching and a red, raised rash. Topical corticosteroid creams are used to treat the rashes experienced with this condition.
Topical corticosteroids may be prescribed to treat inflammation in a confined area. Urticaria hives Smooth, raised, red, pink or white bumps of varying sizes that can appear suddenly anywhere on the body and can cause discomfort and itching. Corticosteroids may be recommended when antihistamines fail to relieve symptoms. They relieve inflammation and swelling and lessen the chance of the rash recurring.
Angioedema A condition in which the skin swells and welts form on the skin, usually near the eyes, mouth, hands, feet and genitals. Corticosteroid medications may be prescribed to lessen swelling, redness and itching in moderate to severe cases of angioedema.
Lupus An autoimmune, inflammatory disease. Cystic fibrosis Genetic disease characterized by respiratory problems due to poor salt absorption. Corticosteroids are used to treat the inflamed tissues in the respiratory tract often associated with cystic fibrosis.
Irritated bowel conditions Conditions often characterized by an inflamed or irritated intestine.