Limiting the Side Effects of Steroid Overuse

2010-11-29 |

Managing Skin Conditions with Corticosteroids

One of the more common uses of these steroids is in the treatment of skin conditions. In the US, roughly 5% of the population suffers from some form of chronic skin problem and steroids are frequently prescribed for treatment. Unfortunately, while these steroids offer benefit in treating skin problems, their extended use can cause other skin problems including allergies, thinning of the skin that results in bruising, dry skin, visible capillaries (small blood vessels) on the skin’s surface and even brittleness of the hair.

Taken together, this means that patients must balance the benefits of steroids versus the consequences that come from extended use.

Corticosteroid Use In Treating COPD

Yet another use of corticosteroids is by those with asthma and COPD. For individuals with these conditions, inhalers containing steroids as well as oral medications are the norm. Over the long term, people taking these medications are at increased risk for developing cataracts and according to research by the University of Sydney, doctors providing prescriptions should take greater effort in reducing the dosages that they prescribe to patients in order to reduce the risks for developing cataracts.

Treating Glaucoma With Corticosteroids

The effects on the eyes are not only limited to cataracts, however and glaucoma, a build-up of pressure in the eye, will affect as much as 18 to 36% of people treated with steroids. As the number one cause of permanent blindness in first world countries, glaucoma is generally treatable but 10% of those receiving treatment will still go blind. Research from Hadassah University Hospital found that glaucoma is treatable when steroid treatment is limited to a year or less, but for those with COPD or lifelong asthma, there is a persistent risk associated with ongoing steroid treatment. Here again researchers recommend that doctors try to minimize steroid doses as much as possible.

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Category: Disease Information, Health Risks, Medical Research, Medical Treatment

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