Side effects of corticosteroid treatment

Side effects of corticosteroid treatment include:

  • Musculoskeletal 
    • Osteoporosis 
    • Fractures – 12% 
    • Avascular necrosis of femoral head (high doses) 
    • Proximal myopathy
  • Gastrointestinal 
    • Peptic ulceration
    • Acute pancreatitis 
  • Endocrine 
    • Weight gain
    • Diabetes 
    • Adrenal suppression 
    • Hypercholesterolaemia/hyperlipidaemia 
    • Menstrual disturbances 
  • Skin 
    • Acne 
    • Skin bruising/thinning 
    • Hirsutism 
  • Other 
    • Sleep disturbance 
    • Mood disturbance 
    • Cataracts -15% 
    • Glaucoma 
    • Hypertension
    • Increased susceptibility to infection 

Adrenal suppression may occur after just 5 days of high dose steroids, and can occur even at low doses after prolonged use. 
Significance of adrenal suppression: 
  • When stopping dose should be tapered rather than abruptly stopped 
  • Increased dose is required during illness 
  • Dose required during induction for surgery and increased dose afterwards

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Secret collector of interesting anonymised ECGs. Fan of the Bath Photomarathon. Lover of cream teas. [Sarah Hudson] (Your Picture)