Side effects of steroids adults

Side effects of steroids adults

Side effects of oral steroids are dose related or more pronounced in patients with co-morbidities (e.g. diabetes, osteopenia -see below) or COPD. People receiving long-term oral corticosteroids (more than 3 weeks duration) and those needing frequent courses (3 or 4 per year) are at risk of systemic side effects. Not everyone experiences side effects when taking steroids but some people do. In the short-term, the side effects of steroids are usually mild and will go away soon after you finish the treatment course.

  • However, if you’re concerned about your weight gain, you can speak to your doctor for advice or follow our simple tips for changing your diet.
  • If you have any of these conditions, the person treating you will need to make sure the steroids aren’t making the condition worse.
  • Corticosteroids can decrease the effectiveness of medications used to treat diabetes.
  • Illnesses can cause inflammation in your lung tissue (hypersensitivity pneumonitis, interstitial pneumonia and some others) or your lymph glands (sarcoidosis).

This includes vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter remedies. Also let them know about any other medical conditions or allergies you may have. From personal experience, repeat prescription systems at GP clinics do not always monitor patients’ current list of medications and sometimes mean patients receive medications or doses they no longer need. Repeat prescription systems could be improved so that patients do not receive steroids after clinicians have adjusted or halted their prescription.

Carrying a steroid card

We strongly encourage you to continue doing as much exercise as you are able. This will help to keep you fit and helps to reduce the chance of side effects of the steroid treatment like muscle weakness and osteoporosis. Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) cause inflammation in your airways. If these aren’t effective enough, your doctor may ask you to also start taking steroid tablets.

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Increased numbers of white blood cells

Your appetite will go back to normal when you stop steroids – but some people need to diet to lose the extra weight. There are a number of reasons you might have steroids as part of your cancer treatment. If you’re using a steroid cream it’s fine to have vaccinations, but you’ll need to tell the person giving you the injection to avoid the area being treated with the cream.

Oral steroids, especially when given at high doses or over a long period of time can produce more serious side-effects – including osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, or changes in mood. They can also cause weight gain, muscle weakness and lower the body’s resistance to infection – all of which are relevant if you have ME/CFS. So if you already have any of these conditions, this will have to be taken into account if long-term or high-dose oral steroid treatment is being considered. Unfortunately
side effects are very common with steroid medication.

Why am I being asked to start steroid tablet treatment?

You might have noticed this if you have had a cut or wound on your skin. They’re also known as corticosteroids, and are different to anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders and athletes. This can help treat autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, which are caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking the body. This can help with inflammatory conditions such as asthma and eczema.

These steroids are variations of the male sex hormone testosterone, first created by pharmaceutical companies in the 1950s and therefore not the same as steroids taken in RA. Steroids are also known as corticosteroids or glucocorticoids. Corticosteroids may be taken orally in tablet form, via inhalers, via injections or within lotions, gels and creams. By taking part in our Improving Brain Tumour Care surveys and sharing your experiences, you can help us improve treatment and care for everyone affected by a brain tumour.

Always carry a steroid card

This might be from an infection, surgery or injury for example. Knowing this allows the healthcare team to give you prompt medical treatment. Signs of severe topical steroid withdrawal reactions include redness of the skin which can be a spectrum of pink to purple, or as darkening of the normal skin tone, depending on the skin tone of the individual.

Will I have side effects from steroids?

If growth is slowed, they might be referred to a specialist doctor for advice. Your doctor, rheumatology nurse or pharmacist should give you a steroid card if you need one. Make sure any change to your dose of steroid is updated on the card. The person treating you will make sure you’re on the lowest possible dose to keep your condition under control.


If you need to take medication for diabetes with corticosteroids, your blood glucose levels will usually need to be checked more regularly. Your dose of diabetes medication may then need to be adjusted. A very small amount of prednisolone can cross into your milk and to your baby.