You’ve been dealing with eczema and you’ve been prescribed corticosteroids. It could be the form of creams or pills or even both. But have you wondered about the corticosteroid side effects? There is no doubt, that on a short-term basis, it’s effective in controlling your eczema. But even using it on a short-term basis has some risks.

Obviously, there are always trade-offs. But as someone who deals with eczema, you should be aware of the side effects so you can make an informed decision before it’s too late.

Corticosteroid Common Names

But what are corticosteroids to begin with? These are actually man-made drugs that resemble a hormone that is produced by your adrenal glands naturally, called cortisol. These are actually different from the male hormone-related steroids that athletes are known to use. So don’t get them mixed up.

There are three different types of corticosteroids: oral, inhaled, and topical. Oral forms are used to treat various autoimmune and inflammatory conditions like asthma, lupus, Crohn’s, eczema, tendinitis, ulcerative colitis, and more. It’s also used to treat severe allergic reactions and prevent the body from rejecting an organ after a transplant. Oral steroids are used to treat asthma and nose for nasal allergies. Topical forms, as you know, are used to treat conditions like eczema, psoriasis, insect bites, and more.

So what are the common names for corticosteroids? See below and see which ones you’ve been prescribed.

  • Oral Corticosteroids
    • Cortisone
    • Hydrocortisone (Cortef)
    • Prednisone (Deltasone, Meticorten, Orasone)
    • Prednisolone (Delta-Cortef, Pediapred, Prelone)
    • Triamcinolone (Aristocort, Kenacort)
    • Methylprednisolone (Medrol)
    • Dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexone, Hexadrol)
    • Betamethasone (Celestone)
  • Inhaled Corticosteroids
    • Beclomethasone (Beclovent, Beconase, Vanceril,
      Vancenase)
    • Budesonide (Pulmicort, Rhinocort)
    • Mometasone (Nasonex)
    • Triamcinolone (Azmacort, Nasacort)
    • Flunisolide (AeroBid, Nasalide, Nasarel)
    • Fluticasone (Flovent, Flonase)
  • Topical Corticosteroids
    • Alclometasone (Aclovate)
    • Amcinonide (Cyclocort)
    • Augmented betamethasone (Diprolene)
    • Betamethasone (Uticort, Diprosone, Maxivate,
      Teladar, Valisone)
    • Clobetasol (Cormax, Embeline E, Temovate)
    • Clocortolone (Cloderm)
    • Desonide (DesOwen, Tridesilon)
    • Desoximetasone (Topicort)
    • Dexamethasone (Decadron, Decaspray)
    • Diflorasone (Florone, Maxiflor, Psorcon)
    • Flucinolone (Synalar, Fluonid)
    • Fluocinonide (Lidex, Fluonex)
    • Flurandrenolide (Cordran)
    • Fluticasone (Cutivate)
    • Halcinonide (Halog)
    • Halobetasol (Ultravate)
    • Hydrocortisone (Anusol-HC, Hytone, CortDome, Cortenema, Cortifoam, Cortaind, Lanacort, Locoid, Westcort
    • Methylprednisolone (Medrol)
    • Mometasone (Elocon)
    • Prednicarbate (Dermatop)
    • Triamcinolone (Aristocort, Kenalog, Flutex)

Corticosteroid Side Effects

So what are the side effects then? It all depends on the dose you are given and for how long you are on them. But below is a breakdown of side effects by administration methods.

Oral Corticosteroid Side Effects

  • Upset stomach
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Elevated pressure in the eyes (glaucoma)
  • Thinning bones (osteoporosis) and fractures
  • Fluid retention, causing swelling in lower legs
  • Thin skin, bruising and slower wound healing
  • Clouding of the lens in one or both eyes (cataracts)
  • High blood sugar, which can trigger or worsen diabetes
  • Weight gain, with fat deposits in your abdomen, your face, and the back of your neck
  • Problems with mood swings, memory, behavior, and other psychological effects, such as confusion or deliriums
  • Increased risk of infections, especially with common bacterial, viral, and fungal microorganisms
  • Suppressed adrenal gland hormone production may result in a variety of signs and symptoms, including severe fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and muscle weakness

Inhaled Corticosteroid Side Effects

  • Hoarseness
  • Fungal infection in the mouth (oral thrush)
  • May slow growth rates in children who use them for asthma

Topical Corticosteroid Side Effects

  • Acne
  • Thin skin
  • Elephant skin
  • Red skin lesions
  • Slow wound healing
  • Topical Steroid Withdrawal

Corticosteroid Side Effects: Nutrient Depletion

So along with the side effects, corticosteroid also depletes nutrients from the body. This is another trade-off. On a short-term basis, this is not a huge problem. But the longer you use it, you’ll need to mitigate the nutrients depleted through your diet and supplementation. If you are planning to use medications long-term, consult with your Doctor on how to combat the nutrient deficiency corticosteroids are causing.

List of nutrients depleted:

  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Folic Acid
  • Magnesium
  • Melatonin
  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin K
  • Zinc

It’s quite a long list. All these vitamins and minerals are needed when it comes to supporting the body, let alone eczema. This is why your lifestyle and diet play a huge factor in your healing journey. If the medication is depleting you of beneficial vitamins and your diet is not supporting it, you are digging yourself a hole, without realizing it.

Corticosteroids Alternatives

You may be asking, “well, are there alternatives to corticosteroids when it comes to eczema?”.

The short answer is no. The drug works wonder because of how powerful it is. It might seem like a good short-term alternative but without its side effects.

The longer answer is, yes. There are a lot of natural creams, lotions, and ointments on the market for eczema. However, just like corticosteroids and natural creams, it’s still not addressing the root cause. It will provide temporary relief until you can support the body to heal from the inside out. Some great alternative creams are products that use calendula, jojoba, aloe, and shea butter as ingredients, to name a few.

I want to explore natural alternative options

You might be wondering now, “how can I slowly move away from corticosteroids on a long-term basis?”. The best place to start is with your lifestyle and diet. You’ll need to take a step back and evaluate, how is your lifestyle contributing to your eczema. The hardest but simplest thing you can do is focus on the foods you eat and the thoughts you consume. When we start making changes to eat healthier and think positively, healing can happen.

Your mind and body is telling you through eczema that it’s time to make a change.
 
If you are starting your eczema or topical steroid withdrawal journey, book your complimentary 30 min call to find out how you can get started!
 
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