STEROIDS - Watsons Health


Steroids are also called corticosteroids, which are anti-inflammatory medicines used to treat a range of conditions. These are a man-made version of hormones normally produced by the adrenal glands, two small glands found above the kidneys.

They’re different from the anabolic steroids used by athletes and body builders to improve their performance.

Steroids can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Hay fever
  • Hives and eczema
  • Painful joints or muscles – such as arthritistennis elbow andfrozen shoulder
  • Pain caused by an irritated or trapped nerve – such as sciatica
  • Inflammatory bowel disease – such as Crohn’s disease
  • Lupus
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)

Steroids come in many different forms.

The main types are:

  • tablets, syrups and liquids – such as prednisolone
  • inhalers and nasal sprays – such as beclometasone and fluticasone
  • injections (given into joints, muscles or blood vessels) – such as methylprednisolone
  • creams, lotions and gels – such as hydrocortisone

Most steroids are only available on prescription, but a few (such as some creams or nasal sprays) can be bought from pharmacies and shops.

Steroids usually don’t have significant side effects if they’re taken for a short time or at a low dose.

But sometimes they can cause unpleasant side effects including:

  • Increased Appetite
  • Mood Changes
  • Difficulty Sleeping

The side effects will usually pass once you finish the treatment, but don’t stop taking your medicine without speaking to your doctor. This can cause further unpleasant side effects (withdrawal symptoms).

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