Arthritis Medications (cont.)
Glucocorticoids are medications that include cortisone and related drugs. A glucocorticoid is hormone that predominantly affects the metabolism of carbohydrates and, to a lesser extent, fats and proteins (and has other effects). Glucocorticoids are made in the outside portion (the cortex) of the adrenal gland and chemically classed as steroids. Cortisol is the major natural glucocorticoid. The term glucocorticoid also applies to equivalent hormones synthesized in the laboratory. Glucocorticoid drugs are also called corticosteroids.
Corticosteroids have potent anti-inflammatory properties, and are used in a wide variety of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, colitis, asthma, bronchitis, certain skin rashes, and allergic or inflammatory conditions of the nose and eyes. There are numerous preparations of corticosteroids including oral tablets, capsules, liquids, topical creams and gels, inhalers and eye drops, and injectable and intravenous solutions.
Dosage requirements of corticosteroids vary among individuals and the diseases being treated. In general, the lowest possible effective dose is used. Corticosteroids given in multiple doses throughout the day are more effective, but also more toxic, than if the same total dose is given once daily, or every other day.
There are three aspects to the medication treatment of gout. First, pain relievers such as TYLENOL or other more potent analgesics are used to manage pain. Secondly, anti-inflammatory agents such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), colchicine, and corticosteroids are used to decrease joint inflammation. Finally, medications are considered for managing the underlying metabolic derangement that causes high blood levels of uric acid (hyperuricemia) and leads to gout attacks and kidney stones.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/1/2014
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