Oral Steroids: Meaning, Benefits and Side Effects

Oral steroids

Oral steroids are steroids which a person can take by his mouth. They could be in form of liquids, soluble tablets and tablets. There oral steroids in the United Kingdom such as deflazacort, betamethasone, hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, fludrocortisones, prednisolone and methylprednisolone. These steroids come in different brands. Among all these oral steroids, the one that is commonly used is the prednisolone.

Oral steroids are used in treating different conditions. Some of them are:

1.    Autoimmune diseases such as autoimmune hepatitis

2.    Inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis, crohn’s disease

3.    Joint and muscle diseases such as polymyalgaria rheumatic, rheumatoid arthritis

4.    Asthma and allergies

Apart from the aforementioned, oral steroids are also used for treating some kinds of cancer. They can also be used as replacement treatment for persons that are unable to make their own steroids. This is known as Addison’s disease.

Some basic points about oral steroids

1.    When you make use of a little amount of oral steroids, you would not experience any side effects. For example, when you take oral steroids for 2 weeks. This is known to ease severe asthma attack.

2.    Taking oral steroids for a long period of time put you at risk of suffering side effects. For example, when you take oral steroids for more than 3 months. If you also have a repeated short courses, you are at risk of suffering side effects

3.    When you take a high dose, you are at risk of suffering side effects. The higher the dose you take, the higher the risk of you suffering side effects. There are some diseases that require higher dose than others. Doses also vary at times for the same disease. This is in regards to the person taking it.

4.    For control symptoms, a widely used plan of treatment is to begin with high dose. From then, the dose would be reduced gradually until the symptoms are kept away. A treatment’s length does vary depending on the disease suffered. In some instances, the steroid treatment given to a person is stopped gradually if his condition begins to improve. There are some steroids that are needed for life. This is for some conditions as the symptom would exist again if the steroid treatment is stopped

Some side effects of oral steroids

For various diseases, the gains attached to consuming oral steroids usually supersede their side effects. It should however be noted that some side effects are quite stubborn and unpleasant. Some of the side effects of oral steroids include:

1.    Weight gain: one would notice that he is beginning to gain weight on his face.

2.    Blood pressure increase: you tend to experience increase in your blood pressure

3.    Increased possibility of getting infected: steroid suppresses a person’s immune system. Due to this, such person is at risk of suffering from severe chickenpox. This is not applicable to everybody, especially to those that have suffered from chicken pox before. Such people are immune to chickenpox.

4.    Skin problems

5.    Weakness of the muscles etc

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