It became a myth that steroidal medicines are harmful and in fact, would create tremendous trouble to the body. But what if I say, there is no other drug is as effective as steroids? And it is such a life-saving medicine. It is so natural to get scared of medicines in general. That too when coming to the steroid, the intensity of fear gets doubled because of the live cases you had seen or heard in the real-time, and you try to hate it insanely. However, it’s all upon how we handle the medicine.
When steroids are handled with some extra care, there is no other best medicine in allopathy that can replace its potency and efficacy. That too particularly during emergency scenarios. Steroids are powerful drugs. Potential to cause dramatic improvements in many severe diseases. As well as produce equally dramatic adverse effects if not properly used. It is empirical and palliative, but life-saving.
Must-know facts about steroids :
Anti-inflammatory effects :
Steroids are most suitable to control inflammation, including life-threatening one, at its best. For instance, in severe arthritis, most of the usual medicines become ineffective. During acute exacerbation of pain, locally injected steroids can only relieve the inflammation.
Steroids help to prevent blindness during inflammation of the eyes. However, it should not be used if the inflammation is due to infection. Inflammation of bone and soft tissues in case of disimpaction of the tooth can be controlled with low-dose steroids. Or else, severe swelling has to be managed alternatively with major discomfort.
The acute phase of chronic inflammatory diseases like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, coeliac diseases is preferably treated with steroids. Because the sudden inflammation is extremely severe and the pain is completely unbearable.
To combat severe and chronic allergic reaction :
Chronic allergies like rhinitis, conjunctivitis, are better treated with steroids. When you are easily prone for allergic reactions, it is better to opt for steroid when your episode gets triggered acutely, in order to maintain later. Local therapy like inhalation, Intranasal, cutaneous application, etc, are certainly harmless and does not produce any adverse effects, until and unless you are contraindicated. They are of short-term use and gives immediate relief. It also helps to control the situation and prevent worsening.
In fact, during acute exacerbation of asthma, steroids are used as an emergency drug to save a life. However, during anaphylactic reactions, adrenaline is a better choice than steroids.
In spite of all the fear, the fact is, our body itself secretes steroid hormone. Apart from other uses, it plays a valuable role in your body’s metabolism. It helps to maintain blood glucose level during starvation. So that your brain continues to get nutrition.
Immunosuppressant property :
If you undergo any organ transplant or skill allograft, there are more chances for your body to reject it. Your body’s immune system considers the graft as a foreign object and activates your self-defence mechanism. In such cases, you have to take steroids to suppress immune reactions.
To manage autoimmune diseases :
Autoimmune diseases are those where your own immune system starts to work against your body and creates trouble in different means. There are huge sets of autoimmune diseases like erythema multiforme, pemphigus, systemic lupus erythematosus and much more. In every aspect, steroids only can bring troubles under control.
To handle collagen diseases :
In severe collagen diseases like nephrotic syndrome, glomerulonephritis, eczematous skin disease, steroids are used but have to handle with care. The dose has to be determined according to the severity of the condition. Either a maintenance dose or the initial shot, it purely depends on the condition and its prognosis status. In severe collagen diseases, steroids are helpful to overcome afflictions.
Steroids are essential in combination with chemotherapy in case of tumours in the lymphatic origin like lymphatic leukaemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma etc. As these tumours related to the immune organs, steroids have to be given along with other adjuvants.
Adrenal insufficiency :
As said, our body produces its own steroid hormones, and its functions are magnificent. When it goes insufficient for any cause, it is an emergency situation to balance it with external dose. If not treated adrenal insufficiency may result in severe abdominal pain, vomiting, depression, intense muscle weakness, extremely low blood pressure, weight loss, kidney failure, changes in mood and personality, severe dehydration and systemic shock. It is an emergency situation which can cause death. Without steroids, your life will go in vain.
Likewise, steroids have pretty valuable functionalities and one of the important medicine in the field of allopathy. In fact, in certain scenarios, only steroids can help. However, it has to be handled with additional care and caution. Come out of steroidal fear and accept the drug, whenever you are in a situation to accept it. In fact, as short term topical applications, steroids are exceptionally doing its best in curing the diseases or conditions without harming your health.
Essentials of medical pharmacology by K.D.Tripathi