What is cortisone?

By | 19 February 2021

Although cortisone-containing drugs are known by almost everyone, there are questions about their use and side effects. Cortisone is actually a corticosteroid hormone (glucocorticoid) and this hormone synthesized by our body lowers the natural defensive response and reduces the severity of symptoms such as swelling and allergic reactions.

Cortisone, which is given as a drug, is generally used to treat ailments such as arthritis, blood, hormonal, immune system disorders, allergic reactions, some skin and eye disorders, respiratory problems, and several specific types of cancer. In this article, the most curious topics about cortisone have been compiled for you.

What is cortisone?

Cortisone is a molecule that helps reduce inflammation and immune responses. It can also be used as replacement therapy (replacement therapy) for some hormones.

Examples of diseases and syndromes in which cortisone is used are:

  • adrenal insufficiency
  • osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • allergic conditions such as seasonal allergies
  • asthma
  • ulcerative colitis
  • anemia
  • lupus
  • skin conditions such as severe psoriasis

How does cortisone work?

Cortisone belongs to the class of drugs called glucocorticoids. A class of drugs includes a group of drugs that work on the same principles. Medicines in the same drug class are used to treat similar medical conditions. İt works by stopping the release of molecules that cause inflammation. This also reduces the body’s immune response.

How is cortisone used?

İt can be taken as a tablet or injection. There are some considerations in the use of both.

Cortisone tablets: Unless the physician states otherwise, the tablet is taken orally (orally) with a glass of water. If the medicine is prescribed to be used once a day, it is more advantageous to take it before 9 am. If you are taking cortisone at another frequency, marking your calendar with a reminder will prevent you from skipping a dose.

Dosage and duration of treatment depend on the medical condition and the person’s response to treatment. The drug should be used regularly at the same time to get the most benefit. Another mistake is to stop taking the drug when the person feels well. This is an absolutely wrong move. The use of cortisone should not be discontinued without consulting the physician, because in some cases the dose may need to be reduced gradually. Compliance with your prescription is the first step in your adherence to treatment.

Cortisone shots:  injections are injections that can help relieve pain and inflammation in a particular area of ​​the body. It is most commonly injected into joints such as ankles, elbows, hips, knees, shoulders, spine, or wrist. Even small joints in the hands or feet can benefit from cortisone shots.

Injections usually contain a corticosteroid drug and a local anesthetic. Applications are usually done in hospitals or polyclinics. Because of the potential side effects, cortisone shots that can be shot in a year are limited.

Injection can be effective in treating inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis. It may also be prescribed for the following situations:

  • Back pain
  • Gout
  • Calcification
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Tendinitis

What should be considered when using cortisone?

While using cortisone, you may need to make some changes in living standards to manage the side effects. This is because cortisone use causes weight gain in individuals. The reasons why cortisone makes weight gain are listed below:

  • Cortisone causes increased appetite
  • Cortisone causes an increase in the amount of salt and water retained in the body
  • The ability of cortisone to reduce the processing and burning of high amounts of sugar and carbohydrates taken into the body at once.

Cortisone intake can reduce the amount of vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus in the body, causing the bones to become more fragile.

Therefore, it also increases the risk of osteoporosis, can also cause muscle weakness and muscle breakdown.

To avoid all these negative effects, you can take some precautions as listed below:

  • Regular exercise to keep bones and muscles healthy: An average of 20 minutes of exercise done at least 3 times a week will be sufficient.
  • Healthy and comprehensive nutrition: A healthy diet that includes cereal products, vegetables and fruits, dairy products, and food groups such as meat, fish, and poultry should be followed.
  • Controlling the increase in appetite: As mentioned above, it can cause an increase in appetite and therefore hunger between meals. Instead of increasing the number of your meals, you can try to eat 6 small meals, 3 of which are main meals.
  • Avoiding salt consumption: The most important thing to be careful about while using it is not to consume salt. Salt can be found in processed or packaged foods. Just as you cannot know the amount of salt in the food you eat in restaurants and restaurants, you cannot know the amount of salt in ready-made meals you order home. For this reason, you should consume salt-free meals you prepare at home during your cortisone use. You should control the amount of sodium or salt on packaged foods. You can choose salt-free products if they do not contain excessive calories and sugar.

Cortisone side effects

Cortisone harms are a topic that many people wonder about. Like any drug, cortisone has several side effects. When prescribing cortisone, physicians consider the benefits and potential side effects of the patient.

The most common side effects of cortisone

  • anxiety
  • unrest
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • skin problems such as acne formation, thinning of the skin, excessive sweating, and redness
  • sleep problems
  • weight gain

As long as the side effects seen during cortisone use are mild, they usually disappear within a few days or weeks. In more severe or persistent cases, you should consult your doctor.

Serious side effects of cortisone

In the presence of serious side effects, you should apply to a health institution as soon as possible. Serious side effects and symptoms can include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • skin rash,
  • itching,
  • swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • Fluid and electrolyte problems
  • fluid retention
  • Heart failure problems, such as shortness of breath and swelling of the arms and legs
  • hypertension
  • Muscle problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Rapid fracture of the bones in the spine
  • osteoporosis
  • tendon rupture
  • Stomach problems
  • peptic ulcer
  • pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas),
  • Slow growth in children
  • Blurred vision, diplopia, eye pain associated with glaucoma
  • Convulsions

The interaction of cortisone with other drugs

Your healthcare professionals (such as your doctor or pharmacist) may be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be watching you for them. To avoid a possible drug interaction while using cortisone, inform your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription drugs, food supplements, and herbal products you may use. Drugs that can create drug interactions; aldesleukin, birth control pills, diabetes medications, estrogen replacement therapies, mifepristone, drugs that affect liver enzymes that may cause a decrease in the amount of cortisone from your body (such as ketoconazole, azole antifungals, barbiturates including phenobarbital, rifamycins including rifampin, some anti-seizure drugs including phenytoin) Drugs that can cause bleeding or bruising (antiepileptic drugs such as clopidogrel or antiplatelet (blood thinners) drugs such as dabigatran/warfarin, NSAIDs).

Some patients may be using low-dose aspirin prescribed by their physician during cortisone use. Patients should continue taking such medications unless their doctor indicates otherwise. Drug-drug interaction management can be done easily, as long as all medications and supplements used are fully reported to physicians.

If your doctor has prescribed you low-dose aspirin for heart attack or stroke prevention (usually at a dosage of 81-325 milligrams per day), you should continue your medication unless your doctor tells you otherwise. For more information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

The use of cortisone can interfere with laboratory test results, causing false results. When you have a test, you should inform your laboratory staff and physicians that you are taking this medicine.

We wish you healthy days.