What are Glucocorticoids: Drug List, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions

Glucocorticoids are the medications that are often used for treating immune system diseases. Immune related disorders are on the rise due to multiple factors which can lead to many complications at a later stage. Treatment for immune disorders needs to be effective and out of various medicines, it is the glucocorticoids which are used widely. Most of the health problems in the body occur when free radicals are in abundance. When free radicals are produced in the body, auto-immune diseases are bound to occur, which produce inflammation in the body. To treat these conditions, glucocorticoids are used. This guide talks about glucocorticoids along with its uses and various other aspects.

What are Glucocorticoids?

Glucocorticoids are basically the hormones which are produced in the body and when the body stops producing glucocorticoids, they are created artificially in the lab to be given to the patient to stop inflammation. When an autoimmune disease occurs, there is a specific protein which is lacking in the body. These are basically the steroids through which the auto-immune disease in the body is suppressed. When a particular protein is very much rampant in the body, auto-immune diseases are bound to occur. The function of glucocorticoids is to suppress this protein which in turn helps in suppressing auto-immune diseases.

How do Glucocorticoids Work?

How do Glucocorticoids Work?

If you are suffering from auto-immune disease, your body mechanism will suffer badly. To heal the diseased cells, steroids are given to the patients. In case of auto-immune disease, your body is unable to handle the effects of stress which results in increase of the cortisol levels. Besides that, sugar and fat also fail to get regulated which can make you diabetic and increase lethargy.

The function of glucocorticoids is controlling stress and cortisol which has major health benefits for you. It is tough for the body to produce adequate level of glucocorticoids so doctors recommend its usage in the form of medicines.

Glucocorticoids Drug List

Glucocorticoids are used in many other forms as well which have varied composition depending upon the need of the patients. For some patients, specific composition is suitable, but may differ for others, check the following compositions which are presently available:

  • Triamcinolone.
  • Prednisone.
  • Prednisolone.
  • Methylprednisolone.
  • Hydrocortisone.
  • Dexamethasone.
  • Cortisone.
  • Budesonide.
  • Betamethasone.
  • Beclomethasone.

What are the Uses of Glucocorticoids & in which Conditions are they Used?

Glucocorticoids are used for treating various conditions which are related with auto-immune disorder. Though many other categories of diseases are there, still it is the auto-immune disorder which causes majority of the problems for which glucocorticoids are used.

Check out the list below to find out the diseases that are treated by Glucocorticoids:

Asthma: Any disease which is related with allergies simply indicates weakness of your body and immune system towards some foreign compound like dust and particles. There are also pollens which lead to major problems in which harmful substance enter your body and produce symptoms such as:

  • Breathing problems.
  • Swelling on face, especially lips and throat.
  • Runny nose which causes sneezing.
  • Rashes all over your body.
  • Persistent lightheadedness.
  • Itchy eyes.
  • Itching.

Cancer Related Problems: When cells are weak in the body, auto-immune disease is common and cancer occurs when immunity is really low. There are some cancer cells which can be killed with Glucocorticoids and are as follows:

  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
  • Chronic lymphoblastic leukemia.
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • Multiple myeloma.
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Surgical Procedures: If the person has undergone major surgeries, then inflammation can develop which can lead to problems for the patient. If inflammation is not controlled, then various health complications arise, which can prove to be fatal. In such cases, Glucocorticoids are prescribed which cuts down the problems with inflammation.

When surgical procedures are carried out, the inflammation can occur in the delicate tissues of the body which are more prone to get affected and diseased. Over the time, inflammation gets serious and reaches a stage of autoimmune disorder, if steroids such as Glucocorticoids are not provided ailment then inflammation and other problems can hit the high mark of severity.

Skin Related Conditions: When a person is suffering from autoimmune disorder, most of the signs develop on the skin in the form of rashes or eczema. Glucocorticoids are used for treating such disorders. It is through proper medications and certain control measures through which autoimmune disorders can be treated.

What are the Side Effects of Glucocorticoids?

Like every other steroid, Glucocorticoids also have side effects. For this reason Glucocorticoids should be taken only upon medical recommendation and under the supervision of a doctor. It is important to understand the side effects of glucocorticoids so that the patient is better able to deal with them through proper care and lifestyle. Given below are some side effects of Glucocorticoids:

  • Developing psychosis.
  • Decreased libido or reduced sex drive.
  • Digestive tract problems in which triglyceride levels become high.
  • Fatigue.
  • Healing process becomes slow.
  • Inflammation.
  • Irregular menstrual cycles.
  • Lower absorption of calcium which can lead to weakening of bones.
  • Makes you weaker internally.
  • Minor stretch marks.
  • Person may become diabetic.
  • Skin problems like acne.
  • Skin thinning.
  • Weak bones.
  • Weight gain, which may be gradual or sudden.

What Precautions Should Be Taken When Taking Glucocorticoids?

Steroids can be often tough on your body so you need to know when glucocorticoids or other steroids should be avoided.

Like every other medicines, Glucocorticoids too is not untouched from any side effects and which need to be considered when taking them. Glucocorticoids should not be taken or used with caution in the following conditions:

  • Malarial infection in the brain.
  • Fungal infection.
  • If you are a heart patient or had a heart attack.
  • Mental problems, such as seizures.
  • High blood pressure problems.
  • If you are prone to having infections.
  • Weak immune system.
  • Mood related problems.
  • Hormone imbalance, which includes some thyroid disorder.

Glucocorticoids can increase your cholesterol levels which can become a major problem for you. Patient also needs to take care of his/her diet and lifestyle. Glucocorticoids can increase problems related with abnormal hair growth and other such skin conditions. In case of any minor ailment related with your eye and skin, taking Glucocorticoids can prove to have major repercussion for you. Therefore, Glucocorticoids should be only upon proper medical recommendation. Patient should needs to undergo some tests and ultrasound to weigh the pros and cons of glucocorticoids.

There are cases of drug interactions with glucocorticoids, which can prove to be a major impediment for your health. There are some medicines which should not be taken along with glucocorticoids. Therefore, it is important to be watchful about what medications you are taking and convey the same to your doctor before starting on glucocorticoids. Medicines related with heart ailments can prove to be risky to take along with glucocorticoids. So understand the risks involved before you start taking glucocorticoids for a better outcome.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 5, 2019

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