Corticosteroids for Lupus
What To Think About
Corticosteroids can keep your Reference immune system Opens New Window from fighting infection. When you are taking this medicine (and even after you stop taking it), try not to be around people who are sick. And make sure you talk to your doctor before you get any vaccinations.
If your main symptoms are pain, fatigue, or fever, many experts consider it best to avoid the side effects of steroids and try to control your symptoms with other medication, such as NSAIDs or antimalarials.
It is common to try to find a maintenance dose of steroids (taken daily or on alternate days) that is low enough to avoid serious side effects but high enough to control symptoms. You may start at a higher dose and then reduce the dose gradually after your symptoms have been controlled. If the dose that controls symptoms causes unacceptable side effects, another medication may also be used, such as an antimalarial or immunosuppressant.
To prevent osteoporosis while taking long-term corticosteroids, get plenty of Reference calcium and vitamin D, and consider a preventive medicine, such as alendronate or risedronate. To come up with a plan that fits your needs, you may want to work with your doctor or a Reference registered dietitian Opens New Window. Weight-bearing exercise also helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis. For more information, see the topic Reference Osteoporosis.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Reference Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
Women who use this medicine during pregnancy have a slightly higher chance of having a baby with birth defects. If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, you and your doctor must weigh the risks of using this medicine against the risks of not treating your condition.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: May 10, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology