Video Q & A:

Pain Relief


What are the risks of corticosteroid use?

Expert:   Betty Keller, MD, FACR, Board Certified Internal Medicine & Rheumatology »

Prednisone side effects-- they exist, but are they bad enough to deter you from taking it? Learn about corticosteroid risk and corticosteroid side effects in this video.

Transcript: Corticosteroids can DECREASE inflammation and immune system activity. PREDNISONE is the most common steroid for managing rheumatoid arthritis. To stop a severe flare, it’s injected DIRECTLY into the affected joint. Otherwise, it’s taken orally in as LOW a dose as possible. Although corticosteroids ARE highly effective against joint pain and can even slow disease progression, they cause side effects and health risks SERIOUS enough to minimize continuous use. Getting steroid INJECTIONS more often than once every 3 or 4 months can weaken your bones, ligaments, and tendons around the treated area. When taken orally, corticosteroids can trigger fluid retention and weight gain,, elevated blood pressure, emotional ups and downs, and increased pressure in the eyes—causing glaucoma. And long term use can cause osteoporosis, thinning of the skin, and cataracts, as well as slow wound healing, and susceptibility to infection. If you and your doctor decide that the ADVANTAGES of corticosteroids OUTWEIGH the risk, you should take the LOWEST effective dose, and follow the prescribing instructions EXACTLY. More »

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