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Cortisone: the true story. By Dr. Humeira Badsha, rheumatologist Dubai UAE

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In 1950 Dr. Hench won the nobel prize for discovery of steroids. Since then cortisone or steroid treatment has saved lives and put many arthritis sufferers back on their feet. However, as we became more aware of the side effects of steroids we know that we should not use these medications continuously.

There are many different ways patients refer to these drugs: cortisone, prednisolone, steroids. Patients are either very afraid to take these medications at all or some are taking them long term.

 

Steroids in various forms are very useful for the following situations:

          1. In patients with newly diagnosed inflammatory arthritis to gain rapid control of the disease
          2. To quickly control flares of the disease
          3. To inject into joints for control of a single, swollen or inflamed joint.

 

Some commonly used forms of steroids:

Cortisone – 5 -150 mg daily

Dexamethasone (decadron) 0.5 to 9 mg per day

Hydrocortisone (cortef) 20- 240 mg daily

Methylprednisolone (Medrol) 4 -160 mg per day

Prednisolone (gupisone) 5 -100 mg daily

 

Common side effects of steroids:

Weight gain

Increased hunger

Moon face

Skin changes, stretch marks

Bruising

Hypertension

Muscle weakness

Cataracts

Mood changes

Difficulty sleeping

Increased blood pressure

Cholesterol

Weak bones or osteoporosis

Necrosis of bone

STEROD SIDE EFFECTS

Although the list of steroid side effects are long it should be remembered that these usually occur when the medications are taken for long periods of time and at high doses. They should always be taken under supervision by a doctor and should be tapered down slowly, rather than stopped suddenly. It is generally not advisable to take these on a long term basis

 

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This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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