Corticosteroids are strong anti-inflammatory medicines. The medications prevent and reduce swelling inside the breathing tubes and lessen the amount of mucus in the lungs.
How they are prescribed:
- Liquids or tablets to be swallowed (called oral steroids)
Liquid and Tablet Corticosteroids - Oral:
- Used in acute or significant asthma episodes.
- Prevents the episodes from getting even more severe.
- May take about 3-6 hours or longer to start working.
- Usually prescribed for 3 to 10 days.
- ALWAYS used under a doctor's supervision only! Do not start medication without a physician's order.
- Have your child take oral steroids with food or after eating.
- Begin taking the steroid on the day it is prescribed. Then take it each day in the morning after breakfast or as directed.
- This medicine can taste very bitter. To help your child take this medicine, you may mix it with a small amount of strongly flavored food like strawberry or chocolate syrup. Orapred brand contains a flavoring agent. Most pharmacies can add a flavoring agent to other non flavored Corticosteroid medications.
Intravenous or Intramuscular
- Used only in a doctor's office, hospital or emergency room for serious episodes.
Side Effects (Short Term) - Oral:
- Increased Appetite
- Fluid Retention
- Weight Gain
- Rounding of the Face
- Changes in Mood
- High Blood Pressure
Side effects are usually mild and should go away when the medication is discontinued.
Important things to remember:
**ALWAYS call your doctor before starting or stopping these medicines.
**Corticosteroids are not the same medicine as the steroids that some athletes use.
When to call your doctor or the pulmonary office:
- If there is no improvement in your child's symptoms within two days after starting the steroid, or if your child experiences increased respiratory symptoms (cough, wheezing, tightness, and shortness of breath) during the weaning schedule, call the doctor or the pulmonary office.
- Contact your child's physician before putting your child on any additional steroid dosages at a later date.
- If your child is exposed to anyone with chicken pox (and your child has not had chicken pox) or breaks out in chicken pox while on the steroids, call your local physician or the Riley Pulmonary Office immediately.
- Your child should not receive any live Attenuated vaccinations while on oral steroids, (i.e., oral polio vaccine, chickenpox, MMR, or intranasal influenza vaccine). Other vaccines (such as HIB, DPT) are safe to receive while on steroids. Check with your doctor.
- Contact your child's physician in the event of an acute asthma attack.
Common names - Oral: