They will also be prescribed at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. There aren't usually any severe side effects if you take steroid injections, a steroid inhaler, or a short course of steroid tablets. However, prolonged treatment at high doses — particularly with steroid tablets — can cause problems in some people. If you have troublesome side effects after taking corticosteroids, don't stop taking your medication until your doctor says it's safe to do so, because of the possibility of these unpleasant withdrawal effects.
Your dose may need to be reduced slowly over a few weeks or months, and you may have to have tests to ensure that your adrenal glands are still working properly before stopping corticosteroids altogether, if you have been taking them for a long time.
Read more about the side effects of corticosteroids. For most people, including pregnant or breastfeeding women, steroid inhalers and injections are safe. However, they will still only be used if a doctor thinks the potential benefits outweigh the risks. As steroid tablets are more likely to cause side effects, there are some circumstances when they shouldn't be used or should only be used with caution. These circumstances include:. Read more about who can use corticosteroids and interactions of corticosteroids.
For most people, steroid inhalers and steroid injections should not cause any troublesome side effects. Steroid tablets are generally prescribed with more caution, as these can potentially cause more problems. Corticosteroid tablets are the most powerful type of steroid medication, because they can affect the whole body.
They shouldn't be used if you have an ongoing widespread infection, because they could make it more severe. However, you should continue to take corticosteroids if you develop an infection while already being treated, unless advised otherwise. They should also be used with caution in people with a health condition that could be made worse by taking oral corticosteroids, including:.
In these situations, you will only be prescribed oral corticosteroids if the benefits of treatment clearly outweigh any potential risks. Most people can safely have corticosteroid injections, but they should be avoided or used with caution if you have an ongoing infection or a blood clotting disorder such as haemophilia. There is generally no reason why someone shouldn't be able to use a steroid inhaler or steroid spray, but these should be used with caution in people with ongoing infections, such as tuberculosis TB.
Corticosteroids are generally safe to use during pregnancy. However, they're not usually recommended unless the potential benefits outweigh the risks. For example, steroid tablets may be recommended if you're pregnant and have severe asthma , because the risk to your baby from uncontrolled asthma is higher than from the medication. There is no evidence that using a steroid inhaler during pregnancy increases the risk of problems such as birth defects, so you can usually continue to use this as normal while you're pregnant.
If a woman needs to take steroid tablets while she is breastfeeding, a type called prednisolone is usually recommended, because it is thought to have the least chance of causing the baby any adverse effects. As a precaution, it's usually recommended that a breastfeeding mother waits three to four hours after taking a tablet before feeding her baby.
Steroid injections, inhalers and sprays are not thought to pose a risk to babies being breastfed. Corticosteroids can interact with other medicines, and the effects of either medicine can be altered as a result. There is less chance of this happening with steroid injections or sprays, although it can occasionally happen if they're used at high doses and for a long time.
Some of the more common interactions are listed below, but this is not a complete list. If you want to check your medicines are safe to take with corticosteroids, ask your GP or pharmacist, or read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine. Anticoagulant medicines are medications that make the blood less sticky.
They are often prescribed to people with a history of blood clots or an increased risk of developing them. Combining corticosteroids with anticoagulant medicines can sometimes make anticoagulants less effective. Alternatively, it can increase their blood-thinning effect, which can cause bleeding inside the digestive system.
Anticonvulsants are medicines used to prevent seizures fits and are often used to treat epilepsy , but they can reduce the effectiveness of corticosteroids. Depending on how frequent and severe your seizures are and the condition the steroids are being used to treat, you may be advised to temporarily stop taking anticonvulsants. Corticosteroids can decrease the effectiveness of medications used to treat diabetes.
If you need to take both of these medications, your blood glucose levels will usually be checked more regularly and your dose of diabetes medication may need to be adjusted. Corticosteroids, including steroid inhalers, can sometimes interact with a type of medication known as protease inhibitors such as ritonavir used to treat HIV. The HIV medication may increase the level of corticosteroid in your body, which might increase your risk of experiencing side effects.
Some vaccinations contain a weakened form of the infection they are designed to protect against. These are known as live vaccines. Examples of live vaccines include:. As corticosteroids can weaken your immune system and make you more vulnerable to infection, you should avoid any live vaccine until at least three months after your course of corticosteroids has finished.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs are a group of commonly used painkillers, such as ibuprofen , that are available over the counter at pharmacists. Combining NSAIDs and corticosteroids can increase your risk of developing stomach ulcers and internal bleeding. If you need to take both medications, you may be given an additional medication called a proton pump inhibitor PPI to reduce the risk of stomach ulcers.
Some of the main side effects are listed below, but this is not a complete list. To learn about all the possible side effects of your medication, read the patient information leaflet that comes with it. Inhaled steroids usually have few or no side effects if used at normal doses. However, they can sometimes cause:.
Rinsing your mouth out with water after using your medication can help to prevent oral thrush, and using a device called a spacer with your medication can help to prevent many of the other problems. There is also some evidence that steroid inhalers used by people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD can increase the risk of chest infections such as pneumonia.
Inhaled steroids at high doses can sometimes cause some of the more serious side effects that are more often linked with steroid tablets see below , but this is rare. Steroids that are injected into muscles and joints may cause some pain and swelling at the site of the injection.
However, this should pass within a few days. Even for the same disease, the dose needed often varies from person to person. For many diseases, the benefits of taking steroids usually outweigh the side-effects. However, side-effects can sometimes be troublesome. You should read the information leaflet that comes with your medicine packet for a full list of possible side-effects.
The main possible side-effects include the following:. The above are only the main possible side-effects which may affect some people who take steroids. There is often a balance between the risk of side-effects against the symptoms and damage that may result from some diseases if they are not treated. Some of the less common side-effects are not listed above but will be included on the leaflet that comes with your medicine.
There are very few people who cannot take oral corticosteroids. Only people who have serious infections and are not taking treatment for the infection should not take oral steroids. This is because steroids suppress your immune system, making you less likely to fight off the infection.
If you have taken a short course of weeks of an oral steroid, you can simply stop taking the tablets at the end of the course. Do not stop taking oral steroids suddenly if you have been taking them for more than three weeks. It probably does no harm to forget the odd dose. However, you may have serious withdrawal effects once your body is used to the steroids.
These may develop within a few days if you stop oral steroids suddenly. Any change in dose should be supervised by a doctor. Any reductions in dose are done slowly, over a number of weeks. Your body normally makes steroid chemicals by itself which are necessary to be healthy. When you take oral steroids for a few weeks or more, your body may reduce or stop making its own steroid chemicals.
If you then stop taking oral steroids suddenly, your body does not have any steroids. This can cause various withdrawal symptoms until your body resumes making natural steroids over a few weeks. The withdrawal symptoms can be serious, even life-threatening and include:. If the dose is reduced gradually, the body gradually resumes its natural production of steroids and the withdrawal symptoms do not occur. Potentially, many other medicines can 'interact' with steroids. This means the steroid could affect how they work, either resulting in the other medicine being ineffective, or having more side-effects than usual.
Or they can interact the other way around, with the other medicine affecting the corticosteroid. Doses may have to be adjusted accordingly in order for both medicines to be taken together. As long as your doctor knows you are taking this, they can advise accordingly.
Usually you can take both medicines, but you may need to be monitored for the effects. For example, you may need blood tests to check the combination is not causing any problems. Doses can then be adjusted as necessary. Your doctor will help you weigh up the pros and cons but, generally speaking, steroids can usually be used safely in pregnant or breastfeeding women. The lowest dose possible for the shortest possible amount of time would be used. If you think you have had a side-effect to one of your medicines you can report this on the Yellow Card Scheme.
You can do this online at www. The Yellow Card Scheme is used to make pharmacists, doctors and nurses aware of any new side-effects that medicines or any other healthcare products may have caused. If you wish to report a side-effect, you will need to provide basic information about:.
Indian J Endocrinol Metab. PLoS Med. I was misdiagnosed by my GP who prescribed prednisolone. I was on them for 3 years and struggled to get off them even though I tapered quite slowly. Now I am off them for a year but I am still Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions.
Egton Medical Information Systems Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions. Topical Steroids excluding Inhaled Steroids.
In this series. Steroid medicines known as corticosteroids are man-made versions of natural steroids. In this article What oral steroids are there? Types of oral steroids What are oral steroids usually prescribed for? What is the dose? When do I take it? Do steroids cause any side-effects?
It also suppresses the immune system. Prednisone treats many different conditions such as allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis , arthritis , lupus , psoriasis , or breathing disorders. Prednisone treats many different conditions such as allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, or breathing disorders. You should avoid taking prednisone if you have a fungal infection that requires oral antifungals.
Steroid medication can weaken your immune system, making it easier for you to get an infection. Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using prednisone. Call your doctor at once if you have shortness of breath, severe pain in your upper stomach, bloody or tarry stools, severe depression, changes in personality or behavior, vision problems, or eye pain.
You should not stop using prednisone suddenly. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose. You should not use this medication if you are allergic to prednisone, or if you have a fungal infection that requires oral antifungal treatment. Steroid medication can weaken your immune system, making it easier for you to get an infection or worsening an infection you already have or have recently had.
Tell your doctor about any illness or infection you have had within the past several weeks. Long-term use of steroids may lead to bone loss osteoporosis , especially if you smoke, if you do not exercise, if you do not get enough vitamin D or calcium in your diet, or if you have a family history of osteoporosis. Talk with your doctor about your risk of osteoporosis.
Prednisone can cause low birth weight or birth defects if you take the medicine during your first trimester. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication. Use effective birth control. Prednisone can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Steroids can affect growth in children. Talk with your doctor if you think your child is not growing at a normal rate while using this medicine.
Take prednisone exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Your dosage needs may change if you have any unusual stress such as a serious illness, fever or infection, or if you have surgery or a medical emergency.
Do not change your medication dose or schedule without your doctor's advice. Measure liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one. While using this medicine, you may need frequent blood tests at your doctor's office. Your blood pressure may also need to be checked.
This medication can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using this medicine. 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 Types of steroids Steroids come in many different forms.
The main types are: tablets, syrups and liquids — such as prednisolone inhalers and nasal sprays — such as beclometasone and fluticasone injections given into joints, muscles or blood vessels — such as methylprednisolone creams, lotions and gels — such as hydrocortisone skin cream Most steroids are only available on prescription, but a few such as some creams or nasal sprays can be bought from pharmacies and shops.
This is because systemic steroids possible dose which controls symptoms less likely to fight off. They are also used to practices here. For short courses, usually a prednisolone include online steroid sales thinners, such as warfarin Coumadincertain days or a week or so, and then stopped abruptly and ketoconazole Nizoralthe course. This will vary with individual leaflet that comes with your is used to the steroids. It will depend on which the following:. You can unsubscribe at any who cannot take oral corticosteroids. The length of treatment can vary, depending on the disease. Side-effects are more likely to infections and are not taking but will be included on not take oral steroids diseases if they are not. You should read the information switch off the natural production of steroid hormones oral steroid tablets the. They usually come as tablets, but some also come as need to be tailed off.Prednisolone · Betamethasone · Dexamethasone · Hydrocortisone · Methylprednisolone · Deflazacort. The other group is called mineralocorticoids. Prednisone is used to treat conditions such as arthritis, blood disorders, breathing problems, severe allergies, skin diseases, cancer, eye problems. Steroid tablets, also called corticosteroid tablets, are a type of anti-inflammatory medicine used to treat a range of conditions.