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Corticosteroids – To use or not to use

Apr 04, 2017

Corticosteroids – To use or not to use

Corticosteroids, or simply called steroids, are the naturally synthesized hormones produced by the body through metabolic processes. When the production of these hormones is restrained, the body is externally administered with steroids. It should, however, be noted that these are not similar to the ones used by sportspersons to improve their performance. Functionally, steroids are mainly used against inflammation and redness caused in the body besides limiting the functions of the body’s immune system for prevention against diseases such as lupus where the immune system attacks the healthy cells of the body.

Synthetic drugs with corticosteroids-like-effects are used to treat a variety of diseases ranging from brain tumor to skin related problems. They are generally helpful in treating diseases like asthma, multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis, arthritis etc., to name a few.

Steroids may be administered through oral tablets or intravenous injections into the system. The drug is usually injected into the muscular tissue at the point of infection or disease. Application on the skin in the form of creams and gels is another way of administering the steroid. Besides, they are also available in the form of inhalers, solutions and sprays.

Steroids usually do not have a large number of side effects when the duration of usage is short. However, there might arise complications upon prolonged usage. Mood swings, sudden weight gain and increased appetite, osteoporosis, muscle fatigue, weakness, insomnia, glaucoma related effects etc. could be a few of the side effects associated with long term usage of steroids.

The side effects of using steroids are only apparent on prolonged usage. However, for minor diseases, the cons of using steroids can be considered to be negligible.

There can be a few ways in which the side-effects related to steroid usage can be controlled. Local application in case of localized inflammation or diseases can help reduce the pervasive negative effect of steroids. Reduced usage with time and using controlled doses can be some of the other ways. However, the discontinuation of steroids should be done in consultation with the doctor.

Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.

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