What are Corticosteroids?

Corticosteroids are also known as steroids. They are chemically made versions of the natural hormones released by the body in response to inflammation.

In inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, the body’s immune system is over active. The immune systems normal function is to produce inflammation in response to infection and injury, to help with healing and to fight the infection. However over-activation in diseases results in excess inflammation, which is targeted at healthy tissue resulting in joint pain, swelling and redness.

Steroids can be used to dampen down this inflammation and reduce pain, swelling and redness. However they are not a long-term treatment due to a number of side effects with prolonged use.


What are Corticosteroids used for?

Steroids are used for a number of conditions that involve inflammation. They are usually given as a temporary treatment to reduce the inflammation present awaiting long-term treatments such as DMARDs taking effect. They are not a cure, but can improve symptoms in an acute flare.


How are they taken?

Steroids come in a number of forms:


Side effects

As steroids are used to suppress the immune system there are a few side effects to be aware of:



Cautions of use

Interactions with other medications

Contraindications with other conditions


During pregnancy and breast feeding




Useful Links

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