DenpaNews Corticosteroids are one of the most widely used drug classes, function as anti-inflammatory and are often referred to as “god’s medicine” because of their ability to treat various symptoms of disease. Some of the names of corticosteroids that we often find are prednisone , methylprednisolone , dexamethasone , hydrocortisone , betamethasone, triamcinolone and others. Although it is proven to be effective in relieving many complaints such as swollen skin, itching, redness, flu, aches and allergic diseases, excessive use of corticosteroids can actually cause side effects that are not good for health.
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What are corticosteroids?
Corticosteroids are a group of hormones produced by the human body through the adrenal glands located above the kidneys. This hormone functions in the regulation of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism, regulation of body fluids, the body’s defense system, and bone formation.
What is the function of corticosteroid drugs?
Corticosteroids are used for hormone production disorders by the adrenal glands which result in a lack of steroid hormones in the body. Other conditions that are often treated with corticosteroids include allergic diseases such as asthma, allergic conjunctivitis and other urticaria, autoimmune diseases, systemic inflammation, transplantation, brain swelling, and many more.
What are the side effects of corticosteroid drugs?
The use of corticosteroids in patients should be carefully considered, because of the wide range of side effects. The incidence of side effects is influenced by many things, use of more than 2 weeks can cause serious side effects. High-dose potent corticosteroids are more likely to cause side effects. The side effects that arise depend on how it is used, because systemic use generally causes greater side effects.
Systemic corticosteroid preparations are usually in the form of tablets or injection into a vein. Side effects that can arise are:
- Increased blood sugar, diabetes
- stomach ulcer
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Long and abnormal wound healing
- Potassium deficiency
- Easy to get infected
- Emotional disturbance
- Increased appetite
- Weakened muscles
- Skin thinning
Local corticosteroid preparations can vary, including injection, inhalation, and ointment.
Corticosteroid injection side effects
- Pain and swelling in the injected muscle or joint
- Weakness of muscles and tendons
- Skin thinning
Side effects of inhaled corticosteroids
- Thrush in the mouth or throa
- Light nosebleed
- Hoarseness or difficulty speaking
- Fungus in the oral cavity
- Increased risk of pneumonia infection in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Side effects of corticosteroid ointment
- Skin thinning
- Skin color becomes paler
- Increased risk of skin infections
- Inhibits wound healing
In more severe cases, the use of high doses of corticosteroids can cause Cushing’s syndrome , which is characterized by:
- Tired easily
- Striae abdomen, purple lines on the abdomen
- Accumulation of fat on the face (moon face) and in the shoulder blades (buffalo hump)
- Hirsutism , hair growth in places that is not common in women
- Menstrual disorders in women
What is the safe use of corticosteroids?
Because of the various side effects above, the use of corticosteroids must be in accordance with the doctor’s instructions, both how many doses, how many times to drink in a day, and how many days to drink. People are not advised to take or increase the dose of this drug without a doctor’s instructions. To reduce the side effects of corticosteroids, patients can follow these tips:
Do not take corticosteroids on an empty stomach, to reduce side effects on the digestive system
Use spacers on inhaled corticosteroids, to reduce the risk of fungal infections in the oral cavity
Do injections in different places, a maximum of corticosteroid injections in the same place is three times
In areas of thin skin or folds, use a steroid with a weak potency
Be careful when using around the eyes, because it can cause glaucoma or cataracts
Do not stop treatment suddenly. In long-term use, doctors usually do ” tappering off ” when they are going to stop treatment, that is, by slowly lowering the dose of the drug and then stopping it. Sudden discontinuation of corticosteroids can lead to Addison’s syndrome .