Oral steroids were once used as a replacement for injectable steroids, but quickly fell out of favor due to the many nasty side effects associated with them.
Today, oral steroids are most often prescribed in situations where an individual cannot tolerate injectable medications. In this article, we will discuss the most common types of oral steroid medications, as well as their benefits and side effects.
What are Oral Steroids?
Oral steroids are a class of steroid medications that are taken by mouth. Oral steroids are used to treat a number of different medical conditions, which is why they are usually classified as “multifunctional” drugs. The most common use for oral steroids is to manage high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.
Oral steroids were once very common in the treatment of hypothyroidism, but due to the many side effects associated with them (such as fluid retention, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis), they are now typically prescribed only when the individual cannot tolerate injectable medications.
Types of Oral Steroids
Oral steroids can be grouped into two categories: corticosteroids and anabolic-androgenic steroids.
Although corticosteroids are a class of steroid medications, they have little to no androgenic qualities. The most common corticosteroid medication is prednisone, which can be prescribed at a dose as low as 5mg or as high as 60mg per day.
Anabolic-androgenic steroids are steroid medications that have both anabolic (tissue-building) and androgenic (masculinizing) properties, making them very effective in promoting muscle growth. This class of oral steroids includes oxandrolone, oxymetholone, fluoxymesterone, methyltestosterone, and stanozolol.
Oral Steroids vs Injectable Steroids
Oral steroids are effective for short-term use, while injectable steroids are better for long-term use.
Injectable steroids have more serious side effects than the oral form of the drug.
When you take Oral Steroids, they go straight to your liver and prevent testosterone production in your body. This might lead to health complications if ingested for a long time.
Injectable steroids can last longer in your system and cause more serious side effects than the oral kind of the drug.
If you take Oral Steroids, they will enter your bloodstream and affect your body directly through your digestive system. This prevents steroid hormones from entering into your plasma and might lead to health complications.
When you are taking injectable steroids, you need to remember that these drugs are stored in your body fat tissues and released into the blood plasma slowly. This can cause serious side effects if you take large doses of the drug.
Oral steroids should not be taken for more than five months in a row because these drugs can cause serious side effects if taken in large quantities. This is not the case when you are taking injectable steroids because these drugs can be taken for long periods of time without causing any health issues.
Benefits of Oral Steroids
The biggest benefit associated with oral steroids is not having to inject the medication. Injectable medications have a number of common side effects that can be avoided when taken orally. These include:
- Injection site pain or irritation
- Injection site infection
- Fluid retention
- Puffiness around the face and eyes
- High blood pressure (which can lead to a heart attack)
- Breast development in men (gynecomastia) and women
- Swelling of the abdomen, arms, legs, ankles, feet, or lower legs
Oral steroids are also effective at treating certain medical conditions where injectable medications are not appropriate. For example, many women with thyroid hormone deficiencies cannot take injectable medications due to concerns about osteoporosis (weakened bones). When the individual cannot tolerate oral thyroxine (the most common form of thyroid hormone), then oral steroids such as prednisone may be prescribed.
The final benefit of using Oral steroids is that some individuals respond better to oral medications than injectables. This can vary from person to person, and it does not apply to all steroid medications.
How do Oral Steroids work inside the body?
Oral steroid medications work by reducing inflammation and suppressing the immune system. Reducing inflammation helps relieve pain and swelling that is caused due to muscle or skin inflammations, allergies, ulcerative colitis, etc. Suppressing the immune system helps treat asthma, allergies, asthma, ulcers in the intestine, etc. These drugs are different from most other drugs because they can be injected directly into muscles or the bloodstream for maximum effectiveness.
In addition, Oral steroids are designed to work in the same way as the hormones produced by your adrenal glands in response to stress and injury. When the corticosteroids you take raise your body’s natural adrenal hormones above their normal levels, this reduces inflammation. Corticosteroids also suppress your immune system, which helps people who suffer from autoimmune conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis) but can also decrease your ability to fight infection.
Finally, Oral steroids are synthetic versions of cortisol, a key hormone naturally produced by your adrenal glands. Cortisol plays an important role in regulating the body’s response to stress and injury. It raises blood pressure, increases salt retention, inhibits the immune system, and stimulates protein production for tissue repair.
Side Effects of Oral Steroids
Oral steroids are known to provide effective and quick relief from the symptoms of various medical conditions, but they do have side effects. Most oral steroids can cause:
- Acne and increase in body hair growth
- Insomnia and mood swings ← Especially in teenagers who are taking these drugs for an extended period of time.
- Swelling around the face, lips, tongue, etc.
- An upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Changes in blood sugar levels ← These drugs might make you feel hungry all the time, but eating can increase your blood sugar levels. This makes it easy to gain weight quickly.
- Mood swings and increased irritability ← Especially in teenagers who are taking these drugs for an extended period of time.
- High blood pressure ← These drugs have high amounts of salt, so it is possible to develop high blood pressure when you are taking them for an extended period of time.
- Spinning sensation or loss of balance ← If you take oral steroids for a long period of time, these side effects might become noticeable after some time.
Oral steroids can also cause bone loss in some people. This causes bones to become brittle and fragile which might lead to fractures or breaks during an injury. These medications might also increase cholesterol levels, so it is important for you to have your blood pressure checked regularly while taking these drugs.
The positive effects of using Oral Steroids
Oral steroids help treat pain in muscles and joints that help improve mobility.
In addition, Oral steroids can also be used by athletes to increase physical performance. Here are the top three reasons why athletes use oral steroids:
- To get back in shape quickly ← These drugs are known for providing quick results because they are effective painkillers. They also give you an extra energy boost that helps improve your performance.
- Because it is easily accessible ← Most oral steroids can be easily purchased from the black market.
- To avoid detection ← Most oral steroids don’t stay in your system for a long time, so it is easier to pass drug tests.
Are Oral Steroids good for back pain?
Oral steroids are used to treat a variety of inflammatory conditions including back pain, arthritis, and asthma. In the vast majority of cases, they’re effective in reducing inflammation and easing your suffering. However, there is no evidence that oral steroids cure the underlying cause of the inflammation or that they correct any structural abnormalities.
In addition, Oral steroid medications are used to treat serious conditions such as cancer, arthritis, breathing problems, skin diseases, eye disorders, and menstrual problems.
How do you take Oral Steroids?
It is important to take oral steroids in small doses when you are starting out. Most people are recommended to start with 10mg per day and can increase or decrease their intake based on how they feel.
Oral steroids should not be taken for more than five months in a row, because this can cause physical side effects. It is also important to take oral steroids in small doses because these drugs can cause serious side effects if taken in large quantities.
It is recommended to take steroid breaks, which means you should stop taking these pills for a while when you are starting out. You can start taking them again after four months of the break to see how your body reacts to them.
Taking steroid breaks can keep you healthy in the long term.
How to buy Oral Steroids?
There are many ways you can purchase oral steroids. Some of these include:
- Buying them from the black market. They are usually cheaper, but there is no guarantee that they are effective or safe.
- Getting them prescribed by a doctor. This is the safest way to buy oral steroids, but they are usually expensive.· Using personal connections with people who have access to these drugs. You can ask your friends or someone you know if they have access to these drugs and purchase them from them at the cheapest rate possible.
These are the main ways you can get access to oral steroids. Before you decide on the way you want to purchase them, it is important to check if they are legal in your country and what safety precautions should be taken while using these drugs.
Who should not take Oral Steroids?
There are very few people who cannot take oral corticosteroids. Only people who have serious infections (and are not taking treatment for the infection) should not take oral steroids. This is because steroids suppress your immune system, making you less likely to fight off the infection.
Oral steroids are used with caution in people who:
- Have a liver that is not working well.
- Have a history of mental health problems.
- Have open wounds which are healing. (Steroids can interfere with wound healing.)
- Have a history of stomach ulcers or duodenal ulcers.
- Have ‘thinning’ of the bones (osteoporosis).
- Have cataracts.
- Have certain heart conditions, such as a recent heart attack, heart failure, or high blood pressure (hypertension).
- Have diabetes.
- Have epilepsy.
- Are pregnant. (If you take steroids in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy there is possibly a small extra risk of your baby being born with a cleft lip and/or palate. A long course of steroids can affect your baby’s growth.)
- Are breastfeeding. (Ideally do not breastfeed within four hours of taking steroid medicines. The baby may need monitoring if you are taking high-dose steroids and breastfeeding.)
Oral Steroids: Warnings and Precautions
For most people, including pregnant or breastfeeding women, steroid inhalers and injections are safe. However, they will still only be used if a doctor thinks the potential benefits outweigh the risks.
As steroid tablets are more likely to cause side effects, there are some circumstances when they shouldn’t be used or should only be used with caution. These circumstances include:
- having an ongoing widespread infection
- having mental health or behavioral problems – such as depression or alcohol dependence
- having certain underlying physical conditions – such as liver problems, heart failure, high blood pressure, or diabetes
- taking another medication that may interact with corticosteroids
It’s important to talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of using this medication. If they’re used for a short period (from a few days to a few weeks), it’s possible to have no side effects.
Oral Steroids can be a life-changing or life-saving medication, but long-term use can cause health risks. Despite negative side effects, some conditions do require long-term use. Here are a few things to consider:
- Older people might be more likely to develop issues with high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Women have a higher chance of developing this bone disease.
- Children may experience stunted growth. Corticosteroids can also cause measles or chickenpox infections that are more serious than those in children not taking them.
- Breastfeeding mothers should use steroids with caution. They may cause issues with growth or other effects for the baby.
Make sure to let your doctor know if you’ve had any negative reactions to medicine before. Also, tell your doctor about any allergies you may have.
Frequently Asked Questions about Oral Steroids
Q: Are Oral Steroids safe?
A: Yes, Oral Steroids are safe if used correctly. However, they should only be taken for short periods of time and under strict medical supervision.
Q: Are Oral Steroids addictive?
A: They can be addictive in people who abuse them. For the vast majority of users, however, oral steroids are not addictive and withdrawal symptoms do not occur if use is stopped.
Q: Can I drink alcohol while taking Oral Steroids?
A: No, you should not drink alcohol while taking oral steroids as this increases the risk of developing side effects.
Q: How quickly do Oral Steroids work?
A: Different conditions require different amounts of time to be treated depending on each individual. In general, Oral Steroids will work within weeks of starting treatment.
Q: The half-life of Oral Steroids is:
A: The half-life of steroids depends on the oral tablet and will vary from person to person. However, each dose should be taken twice a day and at the same time every day.
Q: Can I take Oral Steroids with food?
A: Yes, you can take oral steroids with or without food. However, you should always take them at the same time of day to ensure consistency in your dosage.
Q: How long should I take Oral Steroids?
A: Different conditions require different treatment durations which are determined by your doctor. For example, asthma is typically treated with steroids for only a few weeks whereas chronic conditions like arthritis may require years of treatment.
Q: Can I stop taking Oral Steroids when my condition improves?
A: No, Oral Steroids should only be taken as long as recommended by your doctor. If you do not take them for the full course of treatment, the symptoms are likely to come back and will become worse if you do not take the medication again.
Q: Are Oral Steroids safe for children?
A: There are some side effects to be aware of but, in general, steroids are safe if used correctly under medical supervision. However, children may experience certain problems more often than adults including stunted growth and high blood pressure. Additionally, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may also be more susceptible to the side effects of Oral Steroids. If you are concerned, talk to your doctor about other options.
Summary and conclusion
Oral Steroids can be a life-saving medication for people with chronic health issues, but long-term use comes with risks. Make sure to talk to your doctor about all medications you are taking, including supplements or vitamins, before starting oral steroids. You should never take Oral Steroids without medical supervision and they should only be taken for short periods of time. Additionally, Oral Steroids can be addictive and withdrawal symptoms can occur if they are stopped too quickly. Finally, make sure to let your doctor know about any side effects or allergies you experience, and always take Oral Steroids at the same time every day. The half-life of Oral Steroids varies from person to person but they should be taken twice a day for consistency.