- Cortisone as a drug
- Side effects of cortisone
Since cortisone as a drug only in dosages that are above the natural hormone levels, the body responds to the hormone excess. The side effects are therefore quasi-normal responses to the corticosteroid stimuli - as these are elevated, the effects are also enhanced. Side effects occur especially with prolonged treatment, while short-term use is rarely problematic.
Desirable effects of cortisone treatment
Some of the side effects are sometimes also desired effects: For example, the suppression of the immune system (immunosuppression) may be wanted, for example, in the therapy of excessive defense in the context of an allergic reaction, but also a serious side effect, which leads to increased susceptibility to infection.
Typical side effects of cortisone
Undesirable side effects as a result of the direct hormone action are:
- the so-called Cushing's syndrome with full moon face, bull's neck, facial flushing and brittle skin vessels
- Increase in blood pressure
- High blood glucose
- Increase in blood lipid levels
- increased susceptibility to infection
- increase in weight
- Water retention in the tissue
- Osteoporosis: Although cortisone does not seem to be the sole cause, it can increase the risk if it is susceptible to attack. Therefore, it is necessary to determine the risk of osteoporosis (bone density measurement) before prolonged cortisone therapy and if necessary initiate preventive measures such as calcium supplements or the intake of vitamin D and fluoride.
Cortisone affects the regulatory cycle of hormones
Another group of side effects concerns the regulatory cycle of hormones. By feeding the glucocorticoid from the outside, your own hormone production falls asleep and can even lead to the disappearance of the adrenal cortex.
This condition becomes problematic when the therapy is stopped, because it takes some time for your own production to get going again. In stress situations, such a patient is then in danger because the adrenal cortex can not provide the hormone in a sufficient amount fast enough.
Conversely, it can become a so-called Rebound effect come - the increased recurrence of the disease symptoms, if the drug is discontinued too fast, instead of slowly creeping out.
5 facts about cortisone - © istockphoto, Good_Studio
Guidelines for the right dosage
The now well-researched consequences of cortisone therapy have also led to the drug being used differently today than it was at the time of its discovery. The dosage depends on the severity of the individual disease and the patient's response.
As a rule, acute diseases are only treated for a short time, and chronic diseases are usually treated long-term. It strives to help chronically ill with the smallest, just effective dose.
This process is tedious and difficult because attempts are made after a successful initial treatment with a relatively high dosage to reduce the dosage of active ingredient ever further. At very low dosages, however, this process can be done very slowly and in very small increments.
It also depends on the patient
The goal is always to keep the unwanted side effects as low as possible. To do this, the doctor and the patient must work together. The patient should intensively deal with his own cortisone treatment and get the most information possible to actively participate in the therapy.
This includes, among other things, a low-salt, balanced diet in which low-fat dairy products and fruits and vegetables play an important role. Sport and exercise also contribute to less discomfort and side effects.