All corticosteroids can have side effects across your whole body. This goes not only for pills and injections, but also for nasal sprays, inhalers and creams even though they might only be applied to one small area. The chance of systemic side effects goes up with these topical corticosteroids if you use them at a high dose for a long time. Luckily, this is much less common than with tablets.
Always consult the information leaflet for the medication you’re taking for specific side effects.
Systemic side effects of corticosteroids from long-term treatment can include:
- Increased appetite
- Thinned skin that bruises easily
- Increased risks of infections
- Mood changes, mood swings and depression
- High blood pressure
- Weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis)
- Growth problems in children
- Withdrawal symptoms caused by suppression of the adrenal glands
Your health care provider will usually monitor you closely if you, for example, use a corticosteroid inhaler daily. Always talk to them about how to take your medication and don’t stop taking it before your health care provider says it’s safe to do so.