What role do steroids play in asthma treatment?
Corticosteroids are the steroids used to treat asthma. Corticosteroids are synthetic versions of hormones that your body naturally makes.
Steroids relieve asthma symptoms by reducing inflammation and soothing irritated airways. Asthma symptoms such as dyspnea and coughing are reduced as a result of this. It’ll also keep your lungs from reacting to stimuli.
When will your doctor give you steroid medication for your asthma?
If you need extra support with your asthma symptoms, your doctor may prescribe steroids. They’ll give you the smallest dose of steroid medicine you’ll need to manage your asthma symptoms and stay healthy.
For instance, your doctor may prescribe steroid medication if:
• You use your relief inhaler three times a week or more. The majority of asthmatics are prescribed a daily steroid preventer inhaler. It reduces the probability of symptoms by preventing inflammation in the airways. Consult your doctor if you’ve just been prescribed a relief inhaler and are using it three or more times a week
• You’ve had a bad case of asthma. You may be prescribed a brief course of steroid tablets (prednisolone) to take until your symptoms subside. If you experience an asthma attack, these can swiftly reduce the swelling in your airways.
• Even when you’re using your preventer inhaler as directed, you’re experiencing asthma symptoms. This is when a course of steroid tablets may be necessary to regain control of your asthma.
• You suffer from acute asthma. Some persons with severe asthma are taken steroid tablets for a longer period of time and at larger doses.
If your asthma is still uncontrolled despite high-dose inhaled steroids, stay taking them until you can speak with your doctor about your treatment options. To see if you require a referral to a severe asthma specialist, use our severe asthma tool.
Asthma inhalers with steroid preventer
Preventer inhalers provide a modest amount of steroids that work over time to keep your airways from becoming inflamed. As a result, you’ll be less prone to react to asthma triggers.
“You’re less likely to need steroid medications if you’ve been prescribed a preventer inhaler and are using it correctly,” “Also, there’s strong evidence that if you don’t smoke, your preventer inhaler will perform better, and you’ll be less likely to require steroid tablets.”
The use of a steroid preventer inhaler is an important aspect of asthma treatment. It reduces your chances of experiencing symptoms and having an asthma attack. Even if you feel OK, you must take it every day as directed to keep your airways protected. This is because it works in the background to prevent inflammation in your airways from growing up. If you stop taking it, you will lose your protection.
Do not discontinue using your steroid preventer inhaler without first consulting your doctor or an asthma nurse. To keep the inflammation in your airways down and reduce your risk of an asthma attack, you must take your preventer every day.
Asthma medication steroid pills
In addition to pills, steroid-usa liquids and soluble are available. They have a higher steroid concentration than a preventer inhaler.
Depending on your symptoms and how long it takes you to recover, your doctor will determine how much and for how long you need to take.
Adults are normally prescribed steroid pills for at least five days.
Steroid tablets are normally administered for at least three days in children.
If you require a longer course of steroid tablets, your GP or asthma nurse will ensure that the lowest possible dose is supplied. Depending on how many steroid tablets you’re prescribed and how long it takes you to fully recover, you may need to take them for weeks or months at a time.
How to get the most out of your steroid tablets
Don’t give in to the temptation to quit taking your steroid pills before the course is completed. Your airways may still be irritated if you don’t complete the course. This implies that your asthma symptoms could return, placing you at danger of a life-threatening asthma attack. Your doctor can help you taper off steroids gradually to reduce the chance of side effects.
Make certain you’ve recovered completely. This means you won’t need to use your relief inhaler if you have few or no symptoms (cough, wheeze, chest tightness, difficulty breathing).
If you haven’t entirely healed, see your doctor as soon as possible since you may require another round of steroid tablets to reduce the inflammation in your airways. It should be begun as soon as possible after you finish the first course. This is to ensure that the inflammation in your lungs, which the steroid tablets are assisting with, does not return.
Make sure your doctor is aware of any other medical concerns you may have, such as high blood pressure, a stomach ulcer, or diabetes. And any other medications you’re taking that could interact with the oral steroids, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or anticoagulants.
Steroids have side effects
When you use steroids, you run the danger of adverse effects, just as with any other prescription drug. However, your doctor will only prescribe them if the advantages outweigh the hazards.
It’s also worth noting that you’ll be kept on the lowest possible dose of steroids to treat your asthma, lowering your chances of experiencing side effects.
Inhaler side effects from your steroid preventer
Inhaled steroids (the ones in your preventer inhaler) are normally given in extremely small doses with few or no side effects. They can, however, induce adverse symptoms such as a sore throat or thrush.
“Using your inhaler properly, with a spacer and rinsing your mouth out, reduces your risk of adverse effects since the steroid drug you’re inhaling travels straight down into your airways and very little is absorbed into the rest of your body,” Dr Andy explains. “Your GP or asthma nurse will keep a closer check on you if you’re on a greater dose to monitor adverse effects.
Side effects of using steroid tablets for a short period of time
The majority of people who take oral steroids for a short period of time will not experience any serious adverse effects. If you’re on a high dose, you’re more likely to detect side effects.
Although the dose of steroid delivered to your body is larger when taken in tablet form, any adverse effects such as stomach trouble, increased hunger, or mood fluctuations are normally only short and disappear once the course of pills is completed.
You may be more susceptible to colds and viruses if you use steroid tablets.
“Getting chickenpox while on drugs might make you quite sick,” explains Dr. Andy. “If you’ve been near someone who has chickenpox, check with your doctor to discover if you’re immune.”
If you have any concerns regarding side effects, contact your doctor or an asthma nurse as soon as possible. They may be able to offer suggestions on how to lessen them. If your stomach is irritated after taking steroids, your doctor may recommend taking the tablet with or after meals.
“It’s important to remember that the advantages of taking steroid tablets far outweigh the risks, and your GP or asthma nurse will try to get you on the lowest doses that will completely control your symptoms,” Dr Andy explains.
Long-term use of steroid pills can have negative side effects
You’re more likely to experience adverse effects if you use steroid tablets for three months or more on a regular basis, or if you take three to four courses every year.
Infection risk, increased hunger, elevated blood pressure, mood fluctuations, and sadness are just a few examples.
“For the past 11 years, I’ve been taking steroid medications for severe asthma. I used to despise taking them and decided to stop taking all of my medications a few years ago. I was admitted to the hospital 36 hours later. Even though the high quantity of steroids I take has some negative side effects, I wouldn’t be able to breathe as well or have such a high quality of life if it weren’t for them. You have to strike a balance.” Jenny, who has been diagnosed with severe asthma
Do not abruptly cease using your steroid medications. Continue to take the medication as directed, and consult your doctor if you have any concerns about side effects.
Learn more about the long-term use of steroid tablets and how to deal with adverse effects.
Asthma side effects for your child
Speak to your GP or asthma nurse if you’re concerned about your child using steroid inhalers or experiencing negative effects from steroid pills. You can also obtain some help and comfort if you have any concerns regarding your child’s medications.