Systemic Steroids

Steroids are a very powerful class of medications and are reserved for severe cases.  They are extremely effective in relieving allergy and asthma symptoms.  Symptom relief usually begins within six hours, with maximum effect in two days.  There are usually no long-term side effects from taking a short course of steroids.  However, you may experience increased appetite, mood changes, irritability, insomnia, or upset stomach.  These symptoms are usually minor and generally resolve when the medicine is discontinued.  The following a partial list of steroid side effects, which generally occur with prolonged use, but may, in extremely rare instances, happen even after a short course of oral steroids:


Immune system: immune system suppression, thus, more likely to get infections

Eyes: increase intraocular pressure/glaucoma; cataracts

Heart: High blood pressure, accelerated atherosclerosis

Bone: Osteoporosis and fractures, including hip fractures; stunted growth in children

Gastrointestinal: peptic, duodenal ulcers    

Metabolic: Obesity and increased blood sugar/diabetes


Take the medicine only as directed on your prescription. Use birth control to avoid becoming pregnant while on cortisone medications.  It is generally best to take cortisone medicines once daily with breakfast unless otherwise directed.