9 Corticosteroids Side Effects That Could Be Worth Knowing

Although corticosteroids are well known for their powerful benefits, they can also have significant negative effects.

There are numerous side effects of corticosteroids that could be very harmful.

The total daily dose and duration of corticosteroid administration, as well as the severity of side effects, are usually inversely correlated.

While the majority of negative effects go away once steroid use is stopped, some like cataract development and osteoporosis may last longer.

The incidence of these problems might be decreased by using the lowest doses possible. In this article, we will be looking at some of the side effects associated with corticosteroids.

Corticosteroids Side Effects


Side Effects Of Corticosteroids

Here are some of the side effects of corticosteroids-

  1. Steroid Withdrawal Syndrome

    The steroid withdrawal symptoms could be intensive. There could be chances when the user of steroids might try to quit using the substance, the adrenal gland is under huge impact and fails to produce hormones of its own.

    This could lead to various other health problems like altered sodium and potassium levels in the body.

  2. High Blood Pressure

    The equilibrium of salt, water, and other electrolytes in the body is regulated by the hormone cortisol.

    When you take corticosteroids, you can retain too much fluid, which can raise your blood pressure.

    The best strategy to control your blood pressure is to eat a low-sodium diet.

    Look for low-salt alternatives or avoid eating salad dressings, canned soups, chips, and prepackaged foods completely.

    Call your doctor immediately if you notice swelling in your ankles or other signs that you are retaining water.

  3. Weight Gain

    The likelihood that you will suffer this adverse effect increases with your intake of corticosteroids.

    The most frequent negative effect of these drugs over an extended period is weight gain.

    Many people who might use oral corticosteroids for longer than 2 months may notice a weight increase after beginning their medications.

    People taking low doses of prednisone over 2 years could gain between 6% and 10% of their body weight, according to many steroid users.

  4. Changes In Mood And Behavior

    When they use corticosteroids, some people feel better about themselves.

    However, corticosteroid use may occasionally result in mental health issues and may exacerbate certain mental health issues like depression.

    If this side effect does occur, it usually does so shortly after therapy begins and is more common with greater doses.

    Some people may even experience suicidal thoughts, irritability, confusion, and various other signs of emotional distress.

    Withdrawing from steroid therapy can also have these negative consequences on mental health.

  5. High Risk Of Infections

    A corticosteroid’s ability to inhibit your body’s immunological response increases your chance of contracting infections.

    Tell your doctor right away if you get any infection-related symptoms while taking corticosteroids, such as a sore throat, cough, chills, or fever.

    By often washing your hands and avoiding contact with others who are sick with a cold or the flu, you can reduce your risk of contracting an infection.

    While the NMSS advises against obtaining any vaccines during a relapse of the MS whether or not you’re on corticosteroids, people with MS are advised to have a non-live annual flu shot as well as a few other vaccinations.

    Additionally, live-attenuated vaccines are not advised for MS patients who are receiving any form of disease-modifying medication.

  6. Insomnia

    Both a long-term and short-term side effect of corticosteroids is difficulty sleeping. Some people may even start having sleeplessness after only one dose.

    This can be so because the body’s sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin, might decrease from its natural levels in response to corticosteroids.

    Many people are unsure of whether inhaled corticosteroids induce sleeplessness.

    Although data on this specific adverse effect are lacking, persons with asthma or COPD sometimes struggle to fall asleep because of their respiratory problems.

    This may be an adverse effect of inhaled corticosteroids because they are absorbed.

    It is unlikely that nasal or topical corticosteroids will cause sleep problems. There is currently no proof of connecting these two types to insomnia.

  7. Water Retention

    After taking the first dose of steroids, you could feel swollen and bloated all over your body, including the ankles.

    Urinary frequency is another common side effect of corticosteroid use because steroids make your body retain more water.

    Even simply being aware that this might occur and that it will shortly pass can be comforting.

  8. Adrenal crisis

    Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands. It affects several bodily functions, including blood pressure control.

    Because of their close resemblance to cortisol, corticosteroid use for an extended period at higher levels can block the adrenal glands from producing cortisol.

    This subsequent lack of cortisol and adrenal suppression can result in a variety of symptoms, including dangerously low blood pressure.

  9. Glaucoma

    Despite the widespread usage of steroids, they may have harmful effects on the body and may directly affect the eyes, leading to cataracts or glaucoma.

    A few individuals have reportedly gone on to acquire glaucoma after using topical corticosteroids around their eyes for an extended period.

    A condition known as glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve is damaged as a result of an increase in intraocular pressure because of corticosteroid usage.

    Although the exact mechanism is unclear, it is thought that enough corticosteroids can be absorbed in the surrounding tissue to seep into the eye itself.


Every side effect has a different frequency depending on the individual.

None of the side effects described may manifest if corticosteroid use is short-term, ranging from a few days to a few weeks.

It could be concluded that these substances when occasionally administered, the side effects indicated are not that alarming.

However, if corticosteroid use is sustained, for a few months up to many years, and involves very large doses, there may be an increase in side effects.

Steroid prescriptions are always decided on an individual basis.

Your general health, age, and any medications you are taking will all be taken into account by your doctor.

Before you begin using steroids, your doctor will make sure you are aware of both the potential advantages and disadvantages of doing so.