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Steroids

Also called: Corticosteroids, Glucocorticoids
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Summary

You may have heard of anabolic steroids, which can have harmful effects. But there's another type of steroid - sometimes called a corticosteroid - that treats a variety of problems. These steroids are similar to hormones that your adrenal glands make to fight stress associated with illnesses and injuries. They reduce inflammation and affect the immune system.

You may need to take corticosteroids to treat:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis
  • Skin conditions such as eczema and rashes
  • Some kinds of cancer

Steroids are strong medicines, and they can have side effects, including weakened bones and cataracts. Because of this, you usually take them for as short a time as possible.

Start Here

  • FAQs About Steroids for Asthma (National Jewish Health)
  • Prednisone and Other Corticosteroids: Balance the Risks and Benefits (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish

Related Issues

  • Glucocorticoid-Induced Osteoporosis (American College of Rheumatology) Also in Spanish
  • How to Stop Steroid Medicines Safely (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish

Specifics

  • Corticosteroids (Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America)
  • Cortisone Shots (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
  • Epidural Steroid Injections (North American Spine Society)
  • FAQs about Oral Steroids (Steroid Pills and Syrups) for Asthma (National Jewish Health)
  • FAQs on Inhaled Steroids for Asthma (National Jewish Health)
  • Steroids for Treating Cancer (For Parents) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
  • Treating Asthma with Inhaled Steroids (Consumer Reports) - PDF

Images

  • Prednisone (Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center)

Clinical Trials

  • ClinicalTrials.gov: Adrenal Cortex Hormones From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • ClinicalTrials.gov: Glucocorticoids From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • ClinicalTrials.gov: Prednisone From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

  • Article: Improving human mesenchymal stem cell-derived hepatic cell energy metabolism by manipulating...
  • Article: Multi-centre, randomised, open-label, blinded endpoint assessed, trial of corticosteroids plus intravenous...
  • Article: A clinical investigation into the usefulness of fractional exhaled nitric oxide...
  • Steroids -- see more articles

Children

  • Corticosteroids (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in Spanish

Women

  • Inhaled Corticosteroids (ICSs) and Pregnancy (Organization of Teratology Information Specialists) - PDF Also in Spanish

Patient Handouts

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.

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