What Is Oral Steroid Medication?

Oral steroid medication
What Is Oral Steroid Medication?

Steroids or corticosteroids are synthetic versions of natural steroids. There are different forms of steroid medicines and the type that is available in the tablet form is called oral steroids. Steroids are simply chemicals that naturally occur in our bodies. These chemicals reduce inflammation, suppress the immune system of the body, and also block histamine, which is released during an allergic reaction.


Oral steroid medications are man-made and are very much similar to natural steroids. Those steroids that are used to treat diseases are called corticosteroids and are different from the anabolic steroids that are used by some bodybuilders and athletes. The effects of anabolic steroids are much different from that of corticosteroids.


What Are The Types Of Oral Steroids?

The most commonly used type of oral steroid is glucocorticoids and includes steroids such as Dexamethasone, Prednisolone, Hydrocortisone, Betamethasone, Deflazacort, and Methylprednisolone. The other group of steroids is mineralocorticoids. This type of steroids is mainly used for replacing steroids that the body is not producing itself and the commonly used one of fludrocortisone. Mineralocorticoids are usually available in the form of tablets, but some are also available in the form of solutions or dispersible tablets.


What Are Oral Steroids Prescribed For? 

Most steroids are prescription medicines and are used to treat many health conditions. Some of these conditions are:

  • Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease.
  • Autoimmune diseases like autoimmune hepatitis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • Muscle and joint diseases like polymyalgia rheumatica and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Multiple sclerosis relapses.
  • Allergies, asthma, and croup.


Steroids can also be used to treat the effects of some types of cancer.


What Is The Dosage Of Oral Steroids?

The dosage of oral steroids can vary with the type of steroids and the condition for which the steroids are prescribed. In the case of short courses, relatively high doses will be usually prescribed for a few days or weeks and will be stopped abruptly at the end of the steroid course. If steroid medications need to be taken for more than three weeks, the dose will have to be decreased gradually.


For conditions where steroid medications are to be taken for a long time, the treatment will usually start with a high dose and will be reduced to a lower dose later. The high dose is given to control the symptoms and the low dose keeps the symptoms away.