What should I know before taking corticosteroids?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

If you have diabetes, be aware that corticosteroids may decrease glucose tolerance and raise blood sugar.

Corticosteroids can increase blood coagulation and cause blood clots, and may not be a good option for those with hypercoagulation disorders.

Corticosteroids can cause or worsen psychiatric problems, including depression, euphoria, mood swings, and personality changes.

If you have any of these conditions, a corticosteroid may not be a good option for you:

  • recent intestinal surgery
  • diverticulitis
  • peptic ulcer
  • tuberculosis or a positive TB screening test
  • heart failure or a recent heart attack
  • herpes infection of the eye
  • high blood pressure
  • hypothyroidism
  • impaired kidney function
  • impaired liver function
  • myasthenia gravis
  • osteoporosis

Corticosteroids can worsen strongyloides infection.

If you are pregnant, may be pregnant, or are planning a pregnancy, corticosteroids may not be right for you. The health of your baby may be at risk if you take a corticosteroid during the first trimester. It is not known whether corticosteroids are safe for pregnant women in later trimesters. 

Corticosteroids can be passed into breast milk. They may not be good options if you are breastfeeding.

If you take budesonide, you should avoid grapefruit juice.

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.