Corticosteroids are medications that are used to treat inflamed parts of the body, as well as any swelling, flushing, and irritation. They are frequently used to treat a variety of ailments, including severe allergies or skin disorders, asthma, and arthritis. Corticosteroids may also be prescribed for several other reasons by your doctor.
Some cortisone-like hormones are produced naturally by our bodies and are required in order to maintain optimal health. If your body isn’t producing a sufficient amount of them, your doctor will prescribe this medication to compensate. While mostly safe, these medications can be dangerous if ingested in larger quantities and can only be obtained with a prescription from a doctor.
Types of Corticosteroids
Corticosteroids can either be localized or systemic. Systemic corticosteroids are the ones used to help more parts of the body or organs and they move through the blood, like methylprednisolone. They are available as oral or intravenous medications.
The localized ones are usually used for targeting a specific part of the body. They are available as ointments, eye or ear drops, and inhalers for lung problems. Localized corticosteroids are typically prescribed for the treatment of conditions like asthma or an eye infection. Systemic steroids treat conditions that affect the entire body, unlike localized ones. One medical problem that systemic steroids treat is multiple sclerosis.
For patients taking corticosteroids orally, keep in mind that this type of drug should be taken with food to prevent stomach upset. Since stomach upset shouldn’t be happening, consult with your doctor if it does happen. Do not drink alcohol while you’re being treated with this medicine since the use of alcohol can make your stomach upset. Only drink if your doctor says you can.
Only take this medication as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take different amounts of it, or use it more frequently or for longer than your doctor has prescribed. It’s possible that doing so will enhance the risk of side effects. The side effects are different for different types of corticosteroids so always make sure to read the instruction coming with your medication and ask for advice from your health care provider if you have some issues.
Do not discontinue using this drug abruptly. Before you can entirely stop taking your medication, your specialist will have to gradually reduce your dosage. Inform each medical specialist who treats you that you use this medication. Some clinical results may be affected by this medication. Your specialist will do laboratory testing to evaluate the effectiveness of this prescription at your regular appointments, which is why you shouldn’t skip any. As these are powerful medications you should always keep them out of children’s reach and never give anyone else your medication.
The doses of drugs in this category will vary depending on the patient. Follow your doctor’s recommendation or the label’s instructions. If your think you should change your dose, or the frequency that you’re taking the corticosteroids in, do not make changes in your dosages without consulting with your doctor first.
The dosage of medication you take is determined by the medicine’s potency. In addition, the number of dosages you take each day, the duration between dosages, and the duration of time you take the pills are all determined by the medical issue the prescription is being used for.
It is highly important to talk with your health care provider about the benefits and precautions of corticosteroids. If you use them for a shorter time period, it’s likely that you won’t have any side effects. Some extra things to consider are that:
- Older people are more prone to developing hypertension issues and osteoporosis. Elderly women are at higher risk of developing a bone disease, and that’s a great reason why you should always talk with your specialist about any problem.
- Children may experience restrained development. Corticosteroids can also cause measles or chickenpox that are more serious than those in children who are not taking them.
- Breastfeeding mothers should use these types of medication with caution. They also may cause problems with development or other effects for the baby.
Corticosteroids can be the medicine that helped you the most with your condition, but keep in mind that they are a powerful anti-inflammatory group of medications, and they can bring some serious negative effects on your body if you’re not careful.
Be sure to take them just as your doctor prescribed and never change the dosage or the frequency of taking the drugs on your own. Always talk to your doctor if you have some negative experience or effects from the medications.