Steroids are anti-inflammatory medicines, man-made versions of chemicals known as corticosteroids, used to treat various medical conditions. They vary from illegal anabolic steroids, often used by some to increase muscle mass.
Steroids come in many different forms of steroids are available
The primary types are:
- Tablets and syrups
- Nasal sprays
- Creams, lotions, and gels
Steroids are primarily available on prescription, but you can buy a few, like certain creams or nasal sprays, from pharmacies and shops.
Benefits for steroids
The use of steroids can be to treat comprehensive medical conditions, including:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma
- Rheumatoid arthritis and other sorts of inflammatory arthritis or autoimmune conditions
- Hay fever
- Hives and eczema
- Painful joints or muscles
- Inflammatory bowel disease – such as Crohn’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Ways to have steroids
Steroids are synthetic versions of hormones typically produced by the adrenal glands. They act like these hormones to reduce inflammation.
There are various ways of having steroids, and the dosage may differ depending on your condition.
Tablets, liquids, and soluble tablets
- Once a day
- Preferably in the morning
- Either with or after food to control stomach problems
Creams and gels
- For a few gels, once or twice a day
- The doctor usually advises having them less often but for a more extended period
- Use it only on affected areas of the skin
Eye drops and ointments
Depending on the seriousness, generally, one drop in each eye.
You will be given the lower dose for the shortest period to reduce the risk of side effects. The intake will reduce simultaneously depending on your improvement or if your doctor suggests a weaker medication.
Remember that you must not stop taking steroids without consulting the person treating you.
Some people will experience side effects. These side effects are more likely to emerge if you’re on a high dose or have been taking steroids for a long time.
Some common side effects of steroids are;
- Stomach pains, indigestion, or heartburn
- Changes in mood
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain and increased appetite
- Thinning of the skin
- Stretch marks
- Changes in skin color
- Stinging or burning in the eyes
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 04 October 2022