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What side effects do oral corticosteroids have?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Side effects may include muscle pain, weakness, or wasting, delayed wound healing, osteoporosis, bone fractures, cataracts, and high blood sugar. Other side effects may include nausea, vomiting, indigestion, change in appetite, headaches, insomnia, easy bruising, acne, susceptibility to infections, and missed periods in women. Corticosteroids can cause or worsen psychiatric problems, including depression, euphoria, mood swings, and personality changes.

Corticosteroids can cause adrenal (Addisonian) crisis, a potentially life-threatening medical emergency.

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.