What are corticosteroids?

Corticosteroids are steroid hormones that are either produced by the body or are man-made.
Systemic corticosteroids refer to corticosteroids that are given orally or by injection and distribute throughout the body. It does not include corticosteroids used in the eyes, ears, or nose, on the skin or that are inhaled, although small amounts of these corticosteroids can be absorbed into the body.

What are the side effects of systemic corticosteroids?

Corticosteroids have many side effects that can be mild or serious. These side effects are more apparent when corticosteroids are used at higher doses or for extended periods of time. This section lists only some of these side effects of corticosteroids.

Extra considerations

It’s important to talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of using this medication. If they’re used for a short period (from a few days to a few weeks), it’s possible to have no side effects.
Corticosteroids can be a life-changing or life-saving medication, but long-term use can cause health risks. Despite negative side effects, some conditions do require long-term use.