Like all medications, corticosteroids hold a high risk of side effects. Some side effects have the potential to bring about severe health dysfunctions.
Side effects of oral corticosteroids
Oral corticosteroids affect your entire body, not just a particular area, this type of corticosteroid highly likely to bring about major side effects. Side effects ultimately depend on the dose of corticosteroids you take in. It can start in a matter of days or weeks of starting oral therapy, you may have an increased risk of:
Elevated pressure in the eyes (glaucoma)
Fluid retention, causing swelling in your lower legs
Increased blood pressure
Weight gain, with fat deposits in your abdomen, face and the back of your neck
When taking oral corticosteroids longer term, you may experience:
High blood sugar, which can trigger or worsen diabetes
Increased risk of infections
Loss of calcium from bones, which can lead to osteoporosis and fractures
Suppressed adrenal gland hormone production
Thin skin, easy bruising and slower wound healing
Side effects of inhaled corticosteroids
When using inhaled corticosteroids, some of the drug may deposit in your mouth and throat instead of making it to your lungs. This can cause:
If you gargle and rinse your mouth with water — don’t swallow — after each puff on your corticosteroid inhaler, you may be able to avoid mouth and throat irritation. Although some researchers have speculated that inhaled corticosteroid drugs slow growth rates in children who use them for asthma, studies show that they don’t affect their final adult height.
Side effects of topical corticosteroids
Topical corticosteroids have the potential to lead to thin skin, red lesions and acne.
Side effects of injected corticosteroids
Injected corticosteroids can cause side effects near the site of the injection. Side effects usually include pain, infection, shrinking of soft tissue and loss of color in the skin. Most doctors limit injections to 3 to 4 years.