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- Joint-Friendly Exercises Slideshow Pictures
- Take the RA Quiz
- Find a local Rheumatologist in your town
- What are steroids?
- How are steroids given?
- How do steroids work?
- What conditions are treated with steroids?
- What are the benefits of steroids?
- Why are steroids injected?
- What conditions (including arthritis) are treated with steroid injections?
- What are the expected benefits of steroid injections?
- What role do steroid injections play in an overall treatment program?
- When should steroid injections not be used?
- What side effects are associated with steroid injections?
- What are the possible side effects of oral steroids?
- Does everyone develop side effects to steroids?
- How can the side effects be minimized?
- Who should not take steroids?
- How do I know if steroid treatment is right for me?
Quick GuideRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Pictures Slideshow
What Conditions Are Treated With Steroids?
Steroids are used to treat a variety of conditions in which the body's defense system malfunctions and causes tissue damage. Steroids are used as the main treatment for certain inflammatory conditions, such as systemic vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels) and myositis (inflammation of muscle). They may also be used selectively to treat inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjögren's syndrome, or gout.
What Are the Benefits of Steroids?
When inflammation threatens to damage critical body organs, steroids can be organ saving and, in many instances, life-saving. For example, they may help prevent the progression of kidney inflammation, which can lead to kidney failure in people who have lupus or vasculitis. For these people, steroid therapy may eliminate the need for kidney dialysis or transplant.
Low doses of steroids may provide significant relief from pain and stiffness for people with conditions including rheumatoid arthritis. Temporary use of higher doses of steroids may help a person recover from a severe flare-up of arthritis.
Why Are Steroids Injected?
Injecting steroids into one or two areas of inflammation allows doctors to deliver a high dose of the drug directly to the problem area. When doctors give steroids by mouth or IV, they cannot be sure an adequate amount will eventually reach the problem area. In addition, the risk of side effects is much higher with oral or IV steroids.