Health Guide
Drug Guide

Corticosteroid (Oral route, parenteral route)

Brand Names:

Dosage Forms:

Uses of This Medicine:

Corticosteroids (cortisone-like medicines) are used to provide relief for inflamed areas of the body. They lessen swelling, redness, itching, and allergic reactions. They are often used as part of the treatment for a number of different diseases, such as severe allergies or skin problems, asthma, or arthritis. Corticosteroids may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Your body naturally produces certain cortisone-like hormones that are necessary to maintain good health. If your body does not produce enough, your doctor may have prescribed this medicine to help make up the difference.

Corticosteroids are very strong medicines. In addition to their helpful effects in treating your medical problem, they have side effects that can be very serious. If your adrenal glands are not producing enough cortisone-like hormones, taking this medicine is not likely to cause problems unless you take too much of it. If you are taking this medicine to treat another medical problem, be sure that you discuss the risks and benefits of this medicine with your doctor.

These medicines are available only with your doctor's prescription.

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although this use is not included in product labeling, some corticosteroids are used in certain patients with the following medical condition:

If you will be using this medicine for a long time, your doctor may want you to:

Make certain your health care professional knows if you are already on any special diet, such as a low-sodium or low-sugar diet.

Before Using This Medicine:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to medicines in this group or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Children

Corticosteroids may cause infections such as chickenpox or measles to be more serious in children who catch them. These medicines can also slow or stop growth in children and in growing teenagers, especially when they are used for a long time. Before this medicine is given to children or teenagers, you should discuss its use with your child's doctor and then carefully follow the doctor's instructions.

Older adults

Older patients may be more likely to develop high blood pressure or osteoporosis (bone disease) from corticosteroids. Women are especially at risk of developing bone disease.

Pregnancy

Studies on birth defects with corticosteroids have not been done in humans. However, studies in animals have shown that corticosteroids cause birth defects

Breast-feeding

Corticosteroids pass into breast milk and may cause problems with growth or other unwanted effects in nursing babies. Depending on the amount of medicine you are taking every day, it may be necessary for you to take another medicine or to stop breast-feeding during treatment.

Other medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking any of these medicines, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using medicines in this class with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with a medication in this class or change some of the other medicines you take.

Using medicines in this class with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Other interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Using medicines in this class with any of the following is usually not recommended, but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use your medicine, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other medical problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of medicines in this class. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

Proper Use of This Medicine:

For patients taking this medicine by mouth:

For patients taking budesonide extended-release capsules:

Use this medicine only as directed by your doctor. Do not use more or less of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.

Dosing

The dose medicines in this class will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of these medicines. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

Missed dose

Call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.

If you miss a dose of this medicine and your dosing schedule is:

If you have any questions about this, check with your health care professional.

Storage

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Precautions While Using This Medicine:

Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits. Also, your progress may have to be checked after you have stopped using this medicine, since some of the effects may continue.

Do not stop using this medicine without first checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to reduce gradually the amount you are using before stopping the medicine completely.

Check with your doctor if your condition reappears or worsens after the dose has been reduced or treatment with this medicine is stopped.

If you will be using corticosteroids for a long time:

Tell the doctor in charge that you are using this medicine:

Avoid close contact with anyone who has chickenpox or measles. This is especially important for children. Tell your doctor right away if you think you have been exposed to chickenpox or measles.

While you are being treated with this medicine, and after you stop taking it, do not have any immunizations without your doctor's approval. Also, other people living in your home should not receive the oral polio vaccine, since there is a chance they could pass the polio virus on to you. In addition, you should avoid close contact with other people at school or work who have recently taken the oral polio vaccine.

For patients with diabetes:

For patients having this medicine injected into their joints:

Side Effects of This Medicine:

Corticosteroids may lower your resistance to infections. Also, any infection you get may be harder to treat. Always check with your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any signs of a possible infection, such as sore throat, fever, sneezing, or coughing.

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common
Decreased or blurred vision
frequent urination
increased thirst
Rare
Blindness (sudden, when injected in the head or neck area)
burning, numbness, pain, or tingling at or near place of injection
confusion
excitement
false sense of well-being
hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there)
mental depression
mistaken feelings of self-importance or being mistreated
mood swings (sudden and wide)
redness, swelling, or other sign of allergy or infection at place of injection
restlessness
skin rash or hives

Additional side effects may occur if you take this medicine for a long time. Check with your doctor if any of the following side effects occur:

Abdominal or stomach pain or burning (continuing)
acne
bloody or black, tarry stools
changes in vision
eye pain
filling or rounding out of the face
headache
irregular heartbeat
menstrual problems
muscle cramps or pain
muscle weakness
nausea
pain in arms, back, hips, legs, ribs, or shoulders
pitting, scarring, or depression of skin at place of injection
reddish purple lines on arms, face, groin, legs, or trunk
redness of eyes
sensitivity of eyes to light
stunting of growth (in children)
swelling of feet or lower legs
tearing of eyes
thin, shiny skin
trouble in sleeping
unusual bruising
unusual increase in hair growth
unusual tiredness or weakness
vomiting
weight gain (rapid)
wounds that will not heal

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
Increased appetite
indigestion
loss of appetite (for triamcinolone only)
nervousness or restlessness
Less common or rare
Darkening or lightening of skin color
dizziness or lightheadedness
flushing of face or cheeks
hiccups
increased joint pain (after injection into a joint)
increased sweating
nosebleeds (after injection into the nose)
sensation of spinning

After you stop using this medicine, your body may need time to adjust. The length of time this takes depends on the amount of medicine you were using and how long you used it. If you have taken large doses of this medicine for a long time, your body may need one year to adjust. During this time, check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Abdominal, stomach, or back pain
dizziness
fainting
fever
loss of appetite (continuing)
muscle or joint pain
nausea
reappearance of disease symptoms
shortness of breath
unexplained headaches (frequent or continuing)
unusual tiredness or weakness
vomiting
weight loss (rapid)

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Last Updated: 10/12/2016

Thomson Micromedex. All rights reserved.

Thomson & A.D.A.M