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.
- FAQs About Steroids for Asthma (National Jewish Health)
- Prednisone and Other Corticosteroids: Balance the Risks and Benefits (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Corticosteroids (Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America)
- Cortisone Shots (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Epidural Steroid Injections (North American Spine Society)
- FAQs about Oral Steroids (Steroid Pills and Syrups) for Asthma (National Jewish Health)
- FAQs on Inhaled Steroids for Asthma (National Jewish Health)
- Steroids for Treating Cancer (For Parents) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Treating Asthma with Inhaled Steroids (Consumer Reports) - PDF
- Prednisone (Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center)