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
- 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.
- About Steroids (Inhaled and Oral Corticosteroids) (National Jewish Health)
- Prednisone and Other Corticosteroids: Balance the Risks and Benefits (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Anti-Inflammatories and Corticosteroids (American Association for Respiratory Care)
- Corticosteroids (Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America)
- Epidural Steroid Injections (North American Spine Society)
- Inhaled Steroids (National Jewish Health)
- Oral Steroids (Steroid Pills and Syrups) (National Jewish Health)
- Steroids for Treating Cancer (For Parents) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Treating Asthma with Inhaled Steroids (Consumers Union of U.S.) - PDF
- What You Can Expect with a Cortisone Shot (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Prednisone (Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: The clinical and cost-effectiveness of corticosteroid injection versus night splints...
- Article: Effects of alendronate for treatment of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis: A meta-analysis...
- Article: Effect of Theophylline as Adjunct to Inhaled Corticosteroids on Exacerbations...
- Steroids -- see more articles