The team found that corticosterone was as effective as cortisol, but had reduced effects on fat cells compared with cortisol. Whether you develop them depends on factors including the dose and how long you take them for. Age can also be a factor with young children and older people more commonly experiencing side effects.
You’re less likely to get side effects from a short course of steroid tablets (less than three weeks).
Side effects can be worrying but they are often better than putting up with an unmanaged condition or a pet that is suffering.
If this happens, your legs and arms might feel weaker than usual, making some tasks difficult – for example, climbing steps, getting up from a chair, reaching to hang washing, and getting dressed.
I just sort of, I think, wakened up one morning and could hardly get out of bed.
I’ve got hair loss here [points to head] but hair growth on my arms and things like that, very strange.
The degree of side effects tends to be related to the dose used, but some individuals are more susceptible to side effects than others.
The immune system normally fights infections, but in some conditions it becomes overactive and starts to attack the normal tissues of the body – this is called, ‘immune-mediated disease’. Side effects of oral steroids are dose related or more pronounced in patients with co-morbidities (e.g. ahlstlandsports diabetes, osteopenia -see below) or COPD. People receiving long-term oral corticosteroids (more than 3 weeks duration) and those needing frequent courses (3 or 4 per year) are at risk of systemic side effects. Steroids are chemical messengers (hormones) that are made naturally in your body.
Other, often younger people people might use them for body dysmorphia. Corticosteroids are not to be confused with anabolic steroids, a type of steroid and class C drug which some body builders use, illegally, to build muscle. Use of corticosteroids to treat inflammation can lead to higher than normal blood glucose levels and, in longer term usage may lead to type 2 diabetes developing.
However, this approach also affects fat tissue and can lead to excessive weight gain, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh’s BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Science studied another steroid called corticosterone, which is also naturally produced by the body. You may notice more side effects if you need to take high doses of your inhaler for a long time. If you have COPD, high doses in your inhaler over a long-term can mean an increased risk of pneumonia.
Steroids for pets
It is important not to take any medicines (including those available without a prescription, such as antacids) without checking with your doctor; some can interact with steroids and cause unwanted effects. If you take steroids for a long time, your body can start to get used to the changed hormone levels and having steroids provided. If this happens and you stop taking steroids suddenly, it can lead to a lack of the steroid hormone cortisol within your body. This is known as adrenal crisis, or secondary adrenal insufficiency.
The type of infections you are more at risk of depends on the type and dose of steroid medication you take. For example, steroid tablets and steroids given intravenously (into a vein) can make you more prone to developing infections such as colds, chickenpox, shingles and measles. Secondly, side effects are more likely if steroids are taken long-term or at high doses.
Steroids in the treatment of lymphoma
Your specialist will choose a dosage that will be safe and effective, with the lowest risk of complications or side effects. The problem is that anabolic steroids (often simply called “steroids” or “roids”) are often used in an unlicensed way. They are used by bodybuilders and athletes to enhance performance and build up muscle. Although corticosteroids are not the same as anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders they are still a banned drug by the World Anti-Doping Agency for athletes.
Anabolic steroids, or more specifically, anabolic-androgenic steroids, are a variation of the male hormone testosterone. These are the hormones that provide some specific male traits, such as muscle mass and aggression. Steroids may be naturally occurring or artificial, but have the same side effects either way. While anabolic-androgenic steroids are not often thought about as an addictive drug, or even readily abused drug – they actually are.
Steroid safety cards
Your immune system produces extra fluid to fight infections or bacteria, which causes swelling, redness and heat in the affected area. You might have noticed this if you have had a cut or wound on your skin. They’re also known as corticosteroids, and are different to anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders and athletes.
Why not sign up for our newsletter to receive regular pet health advice from our vets?
It is more likely to happen with steroids taken by mouth (orally) than with other types of steroids. The types of corticosteroids most often used to treat lymphoma are dexamethasone, methylprednisolone and prednisolone. A group of steroids called mineralocorticoids (including fludrocortisone and hydrocortisone) are sometimes used to treat adrenal crisis. Being a male hormone, it means that they will become more aggressive, angry and violent.