Glossary of Drugs and Side Effects

Common serious
side effects include increased risk of infection, diabetes and
osteoporosis. Cyclophosphamide has the potential to cause
serious short term side effects including bladder irritation (cystitis)
and bone marrow suppression (low white cell count) leading to infection. Mesna (a uroprotectant) is often given to patients receiving injections
of cyclophosphamide to reduce the risk of bladder problems.

Always tell other doctors, nurses, pharmacists or dentists that you’re having this treatment. For example, if you need treatment for anything else, including teeth problems. This drug can cause inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).

  • Depending on which condition you have and what dose you’re prescribed, you may notice an improvement in your symptoms within a few days.
  • If your child hasn’t had chicken pox, and is in direct contact with a child who has chicken pox, or develops it within 48 hours, contact the hospital immediately.
  • When handling your pet’s medication, it is best to wear gloves, or ensure you wash your hands thoroughly to avoid any absorption of the drug yourself.
  • For most people, the benefits of taking steroids will outweigh any harmful effect on their bones.
  • Over a longer period of time cyclophosphamide can cause infertility in both men and women.

For all of these reasons, it is best to take steroid tablets in lower doses, for short courses if possible. These are more likely if you are on a high dose or if you are taking steroids for a long time. Cyclophosphamide is commonly used to treat severe forms of
vasculitis and is also widely known as an anti-cancer chemotherapy drug. It is usually given as either a daily tablet or intermittent infusion
every few weeks.

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However, very infrequently, a severe type of topical steroid withdrawal reaction can occur, which may also be known as red skin syndrome or topical steroid addiction. The researchers also suggest that people taking steroids, even those on low doses, would benefit from regular monitoring and extra support to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease. With the help of their GP, many people may be able to reduce their risk through lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking or losing weight.

  • The most frequently prescribed steroid is prednisolone which is mostly given in tablet form.
  • But it’s important they’re up to date with other vaccines beforehand to avoid catching one of the diseases that vaccination prevents.
  • Steroids are a man-made version of hormones normally produced by the adrenal glands which are 2 small glands found above the kidneys.
  • This is why it’s generally recommended that you don’t take steroids later than 2.00pm.
  • However, if a child has cushingoid appearance, he/she should be assumed to have adrenal suppression.

Occasionally, some people develop type 2 diabetes as one of the side-effects of steroids. This is more likely following longer-term usage of steroids (longer than 3 months). Older medicines may have been used effectively for many years in children without problems but the manufacturer has not been required to collect data and amend the licence.

Is there anything I should know before taking corticosteroids?

This is so that anyone else treating you, such as your dentist or in an emergency, knows that you are on steroids. They help to control many functions including the immune system, reducing inflammation and blood pressure. Steroid creams are safe to use during pregnancy, but if you’re breastfeeding you’ll need to make sure any cream is wiped off before feeding. Very strong topical steroids aren’t usually prescribed during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

They work by reducing inflammation and the activity of the immune system. They are used to treat a variety of inflammatory diseases and conditions. Some people with COPD are given a short course of steroid tablets to keep at home, as part of their flare-up rescue pack, but you must have clear instructions about when and how to use them. This is usually only for people with asthma that’s difficult to control, or severe.

It can help your doctor understand how strong your bones are and if you might need an osteoporosis drug treatment. Steroid eye dropsSteroid eye drops usually give a low dose of steroids and are very unlikely to cause bone loss. This means it’s hard to know how much inhaled steroids might affect the bones. In fact, some studies that have accounted for these extra factors suggest inhaled steroids may not harm your bones at all.

If you have diabetes already, you might need to check your blood sugar levels more often than usual. Steroids can hide or change the signs and symptoms of some infections. They might also make it harder for your body to deal with an infection. This means infections are more difficult to diagnose at an early stage.

Intravenous steroids are usually given to people when they are admitted to hospital. NHS approved education and behaviour change app for people with type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, obesity. Topical corticosteroids (creams, gels or lotions) may lead to thinning or darkening of the skin. Serious health problems are more likely the longer you take steroids and the bigger the dose.

Taking any drug while using steroids puts extra strain on your liver. As steroids can affect your mood it is advisable to avoid other drugs that change your mental state. Injecting steroids carries its own health risks, such as skin abscesses or infections, and sharing injecting equipment spreads serious infections like HIV and hepatitis C. Tools for scoring cardiovascular risk do not take into account glucocorticoid dose.

Methylprednisolone (See Steroids)

This does not mean that it is unsafe for children and young people to be prescribed such a medicine ‘off-licence/off-label’. However, if you are concerned about any conflicts of information, please discuss with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. These are manufactured versions of the hormones produced by the adrenal glands .