corticosteroid drugs

how corticosteroid work

The corticosteroid drugs - A group of drugs that are chemically similar to corticosteroid hormones, which are produced by the adrenal glands.

•Beclometasone •Cortisone
•Dexamethasone •Fludrocortisone
•Hydrocortisone •Prednisolone
•Prednisone •Triamcinolone

Corticosteroid drugs are used as hormone replacement therapy in Addison’s disease and when the adrenal glands or pituitary gland have been destroyed by disease or have been removed. They are also used to treat inflammatory intestinal disorders, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and as an urgent treatment for the inflammation in the artery supplying the retina that occurs in temporal arteritis.

Other uses of corticosteroid drugs include the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis, and the treatment of asthma, eczema, and allergic rhinitis. Corticosteroid drugs are also used to prevent organ rejection following transplant surgery and in the treatment of some types of cancer, such as lymphoma or leukaemia. In addition, injections of corticosteroids may be administered to relieve pain in disorders such as tennis elbow and arthritis.

Side effects are uncommon when corticosteroid drugs are used in the form of cream or taken by inhaler. However, tablets taken in high doses for long periods may cause diabetes mellitus, hypertension, osteoporosis, oedema, peptic ulcer, Cushing’s syndrome, inhibited growth in children, and, in rare cases, cataract or psychosis. High doses of the drugs also impair the immune system, increasing the risk of serious infections such as septicaemia and tuberculosis; and chickenpox can be life-threatening in people taking corticosteroids.

Long-term treatment suppresses production of corticosteroid hormones by the adrenal glands, and sudden withdrawal may lead to adrenal failure, which can be life-threatening. For this reason, anyone who is taking corticosteroids, or who has recently taken them, should always carry a steroid treatment card and inform a doctor of the fact before undergoing any other form of medical treatment.


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