The Role of Steroids in Treating Inflammatory Conditions

The Role of Steroids in Treating Inflammatory Conditions

The Role of Steroids in Treating Inflammatory Conditions


Nowadays Inflammatory conditions are becoming a serious concern around the globe, affecting millions of people worldwide. The Global Burden of Disease Study estimated that approximately 1% of the global population is affected by rheumatoid arthritis, which is one of the most commonly occurring inflammatory conditions. And those inflammatory conditions can be deadly when the body's inflammatory response and defense mechanism fail against infections and injuries. But luckily, medical science has made significant progress with steroids in treating inflammatory conditions. And in this article, you will learn about it all. After going through this article, you will be able to understand what role steroids can play in treating inflammatory conditions.


Use of Steroids in Treating Inflammatory Conditions:

The steroid that is used in treating inflammatory conditions is Corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are a class of synthetic drugs that mimic the effects of hormones produced by the adrenal glands. They are commonly used in the treatment of various inflammatory conditions due to their potent anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties. Corticosteroids were successfully used to relieve symptoms of arthritis (an inflammatory condition) back in 1948 at the Mayo Clinic, in Minnesota. After that event, a detailed study on how corticosteroids effects and treat inflammatory conditions was conducted. And it is found that Corticosteroids have different therapeutic uses and one of which is it works as an anti-inflammatory substance in the human body. And many drugs of different routes were invented such as oral drugs, inhalation drugs, topic topical drugs, etc. And these drugs have cortisol that triggers the generation of Corticosteroids in the body. Corticosteroid is one of the most useful types of steroids in the world but apart from this steroid, there are many steroids which help people in achieving different purposes such as cancer treatment, autoimmune disorder treatment, and performance enhancement. People not just look for this corticosteroid they also search for best steroids to get big quick, to treat other conditions etc. And this is what shows the use of steroids for different types of uses.


How Do Corticosteroids Treat Inflammatory Conditions? 

Here is how corticosteroids treat inflammatory conditions... 

When you have an inflammatory condition, like a painful joint, skin rash, or breathing problem, your immune system can go into overdrive, causing redness, swelling, and discomfort. And this is when these steroids work by blocking certain substances in your body that trigger inflammation, kind of like turning off a "red alert" signal. One of these substances is called prostaglandins, which play a big role in causing swelling and pain. When you take corticosteroids, they can quickly reduce the redness, warmth, swelling, and pain in the affected area or throughout your entire body if needed. This helps you feel better and gives your body a chance to heal. 

You might get corticosteroids in different forms, like creams, pills, or injections, depending on your condition and where you need the treatment. If you have a skin rash, a cream can be applied directly to the affected area. If you have asthma or arthritis, you might take pills or have an injection to target the inflammation inside your body.


Role of using corticosteroids in treating inflammatory conditions.

There are many inflammatory conditions, and many types of corticosteroids treat each of them, now let's see those Steroids in Treating Inflammatory Conditions.

There are two main types of corticosteroids used in the treatment of inflammation in the medical world and these are

  • Glucocorticoids:
  • Mineralocorticoids:

1. Glucocorticoids:

Glucocorticoids are the most commonly prescribed corticosteroids for inflammatory conditions. They act by suppressing the immune system's inflammatory response and reducing the production of pro-inflammatory substances. Glucocorticoids are effective in managing a wide range of inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

Common examples of glucocorticoids include:


Specific Use: It is used to treat a wide range of inflammatory and immune-related conditions. It is effective in managing conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, allergic reactions, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease), and certain skin disorders. Prednisone helps suppress the immune system's response to inflammation, reducing swelling, pain, and other symptoms associated with these conditions.


Specific Uses: It is commonly used in the treatment of asthma, allergic reactions, and inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Prednisolone is also prescribed to children who have difficulty swallowing tablets, as it is available in liquid form.


Specific Uses: It is commonly used in the management of severe inflammatory conditions, such as certain types of arthritis (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis), autoimmune diseases, and acute allergic reactions. Dexamethasone is also utilized to reduce brain swelling in conditions like cerebral edema and is considered an essential drug in the treatment of certain respiratory conditions like COVID-19 when used in specific circumstances.


Specific Uses: It is often prescribed topically (as creams, ointments, or lotions) to manage skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Betamethasone helps reduce itching, redness, and inflammation associated with these skin disorders.


Specific Uses: It is used in both topical and systemic forms for various medical purposes. Topical hydrocortisone creams or ointments are widely available over-the-counter and are used to alleviate mild skin irritations, insect bites, and rashes. Systemic hydrocortisone, when administered in higher doses, is used in more severe conditions such as adrenal insufficiency, certain autoimmune diseases, and allergic reactions.


2. Mineralocorticoids:

Mineralocorticoids, as the name suggests, primarily regulate the body's mineral balance, particularly sodium and potassium levels. Although these are types of corticosteroids, they are less commonly used in the treatment of inflammatory conditions compared to glucocorticoids. The most well-known mineralocorticoid is aldosterone, which plays a key role in maintaining blood pressure and fluid balance.


Side Effects of Using Corticosteroids:

Corticosteroids are available in many forms and routes of use and each form has different possible side effects such as those given below.

Topical (Applied on the skin):

  • Facial flushing
  • Skin color loss (hypopigmentation)
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Thinning of the skin (skin atrophy)

Inhalation (Breathed in):

  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Nosebleed
  • Oral candidiasis (thrush)

Intra-articular (Injected into a joint):

  • Damage to cartilage
  • Loss of skin color (hypopigmentation)
  • Joint infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Nearby bone death (osteonecrosis)
  • Bone thinning (osteoporosis)
  • Local skin atrophy

Intramuscular or Intravenous (Injected into a muscle or vein):

  • Acne
  • Cataracts
  • Fluid retention (edema)
  • High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Metallic taste
  • Mood changes

Oral (Taken by mouth):

  • Acne
  • Cataracts
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Depression
  • Fluid retention (edema)
  • Glaucoma
  • Abnormal body hair growth (hirsutism)
  • High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Redistribution of body fat (lipodystrophy)
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle weakness


How to Reduce Side Effects:

If you are anxious about the side effects and want to minimize the effect, you can take the lowest effective dose for the shortest period. But it is not suggested without consultation with your medical specialist.



At this point, you are well aware of corticosteroids and how corticosteroids are essential in treating inflammatory conditions. This steroid plays a vital role in treating the inflammatory conditions of millions of people. Despite your knowledge about their benefits, and which corticosteroid is used for what purpose, it's crucial to use them under medical guidance to minimize side effects as these steroids may cause health issues.