The risk of infection is related to the dose of steroids and the duration of treatment. Although pyogenic bacteria are the most common pathogens, chronic use of steroids increases the risk of infection by intracellular pathogens such as Listeria, many fungi, herpes viruses and certain parasites. Using steroids, such as prednisolone, for certain rheumatic conditions may increase the risk of viral and bacterial infections. Corticosteroids may increase the risk of infections because they have a wide variety of effects on the immune system.
The dosage of the drug has a great impact on the risk of infection. The risk of infection is higher at high doses (for example, 60 mg of prednisone), “but it has been found that the risk of serious infection doubles approximately even in people who take 10 to 20 mg of prednisone, says Dr. The risk of infection with corticosteroid doses lower than 10 mg is unclear, he notes. Corticosteroids carry a risk of side effects, some of which can cause serious health problems.
When you know what side effects are possible, you can take steps to control their impact. Corticosteroids can also be used to replace certain hormones that the body doesn't produce naturally, for example, in people with Addison's disease. Steroids also reduce the activity of the immune system, which is the body's natural defense against diseases and infections. For most people, steroid inhalers and steroid injections shouldn't cause annoying side effects.
High-dose inhaled steroids can sometimes cause some of the more serious side effects that are most commonly related to steroid tablets (see below), but this is rare. There's usually no reason why a person can't use a steroid inhaler or spray, but they should be used with caution in people with ongoing infections, such as tuberculosis (TB).