What are corticosteroid drugs?

Corticosteroid drugs are very strong drugs that must be prescribed by a doctor to be administered. As, This type of drug cannot be consumed or acquired without medical supervision.

These drugs are a variety of hormones that they belong to the group of steroids, produced by the cortex of the adrenal glands. Corticosteroids are involved in a wide variety of physiological mechanisms, including the following:

  • inflammatory processes.
  • Immune system.
  • Carbohydrate metabolism.

corticosteroid drugs

corticosteroid drugs they are artificially synthesized for therapeutic purposes such as the treatment of Crohn’s disease or for joint pain.

Types and indications of corticosteroid drugs

Man taking a pill.
These types of medications are prescription only, so under no circumstances should you self-medicate.

Since these drugs can be synthesized artificially, they can be made in different shapes depending on the indication for which they are required.

Therefore, we can find inhaled corticosteroid drugs. This wording It is used in cases that want to treat an asthmatic patient or have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

However, They are also occasionally used in some cases of acute bronchitisalthough the previous two indications are long-term and under medical supervision.

There are also oral corticosteroids, available in tablet form. The main indication of this type is the treatment of inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

On the other hand, there are the arguments, which are indicated, for example, in cases of eczema, atopic dermatitis or psoriasis. Local inflammations can also be a cause for the administration of topical corticosteroid drugs.

Finally, there are injectable corticosteroids. Those that are administered intravenously they are used in some systemic autoimmune diseases. As for those administered intramuscularly, they are reserved for the treatment of joint pain.

Mechanism of action and pharmacological actions

A characteristic effect is the risk of osteoporosis, due among other things to the effect on calcium.

Corticosteroid medications should enter the cytoplasm where they bind to receptors. Once this hormone-receptor complex is formed, it goes to the nucleus of the cell and interacts with the DNA there.

The result of this interaction it is the synthesis of the specific protein that will perform the desired function.

As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, corticosteroids play many roles in the body. Next, we explain each of them in more detail:

  • Metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins: stimulate gluconeogenesis, glucogenesis. Increases blood glucose and pyruvate levels. It also makes the balance of nitrogen and calcium negative, so it can trigger osteoporosis and myopathies.
  • lipid metabolism: They intervene in the redistribution of fat and increase appetite.
  • Water and electrolyte metabolism: retain sodium and water, but excrete potassium and hydrogen and reduce intestinal absorption of calcium.
  • cardiovascular actions: they retain liquids and thus facilitate the appearance of edema.
  • Hematopoietic actions.
  • anti-inflammatory action: decreases the inflammatory tetrad, i.e. redness, heat, pain and edema. They also inhibit histamine secretion.

Adverse reactions of corticosteroid drugs

Being drugs that act on a large number of physiological processes, adverse effects will also vary. It should be noted that its side effects are closely related to its use. Therefore, the main trigger for reactions is inappropriate intake and abrupt discontinuation of treatment.

Tensiometer to measure hypertension.
Due to the increase in minerals such as sodium and water retention, edema and increased blood pressure may occur.

As for the immunological effects, increases susceptibility to infectionsas it is an immunosuppressive agent. They also have negative effects on skeletal muscle, so they could trigger myopathy, osteoporosis and bone necrosis.

Gastrointestinal effects can be triggered such as pancreatitis and peptic ulcer diseaseThese two adverse reactions are the most typical. Also, they can cause hypertension due to water retention as an adverse cardiovascular effect.

On the other hand, among the adverse reactions of corticosteroids we can mention:

  • Acne.
  • hirsutism
  • Stretch marks.
  • bruising.

Mood changes, feelings of euphoria, insomnia, depression and psychosis, are adverse reactions of a neuropsychiatric nature which can also appear in treatment with corticosteroid drugs. Although in this case they are less frequent and probable.

Moreover, ophthalmological problems may also appear such as cataracts and glaucomaas well as endocrinological and metabolic problems.

Among the latter, we can mention glucose intolerancediabetes, overweight, hyperlipidemia, growth suppression due to its close relationship with growth hormone, and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal gland axis suppression, among others.

The post What are corticosteroid drugs? first appeared on research-school



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