An informed arthritis patient is always an intelligent arthritis patient. Conquer rather than cope with your arthritis.

Steroids—Side Effects

Are steroids harmful drugs?
Steroids are considered as harmful drugs by many. It is very important to understand the difference between safe & proper v/s improper & harmful use of powerful drugs like steroids. If properly used, they can make a real difference to you & your arthritis. This also holds true for other disease modifying agents. The risks associated with steroids are dependent on the dose & duration of steroid therapy. The aim of therapy is to minimize the dose to minimum required as soon as possible with the help of steroid sparing drugs.    
What are the side effects of steroids?
Weight gain
Raised blood pressure
Worsening of diabetes
Water retention
Stomach irritation, acidity
Muscle weakness
Increased susceptibility to infections.
When does one develop side effects of steroids?
The most common early side effect of steroids is stomach irritation. Most of the other side effects are the result of long term and high dose steroid therapy.
When should one not receive any steroids?
Ongoing infection
Fever of unknown cause
Uncontrolled diabetes
Peptic ulcers
What is low dose steroid therapy?
A steroid dose equivalent to or less than 7.5 mg of prednisolone is considered as low dose steroid therapy. This dose is equivalent to the amount of steroids produced in the body. This dose can be taken for prolonged period with minimal risk of side effects.    
What dose of steroids is required for Rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is very sensitive to steroids. A low dose steroid therapy is generally required for Rheumatoid arthritis. It is used when you are newly diagnosed to give fast relief as DMARDs take 4- 6 weeks to act. It is also given for a short duration to control a flare up of arthritis. A high dose may be required only for complications of rheumatoid arthritis like vasculitis, vasculitic neuropathy, scleromalacia. In general, steroids are not given on a long term basis for Rheumatoid arthritis & the disease is controlled with DMARDs. In Lupus, however, long term low dose steroids are required.    

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Also Read:
How to arrange your kitchen if you have arthritis?
How to plan a house cleaning job if you have arthritis.

Created on: April 2007
Last updated on: Feb 2015
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