Active Ingredients

Cortisone – Effect, Application & Risks


Cortisone or cortisone is a drug that is very effective in many areas and can be used in different ways. Due to the many side effects, cortisone should not be used in higher doses over a longer period of time.

What is cortisone?

Basically, all hormones that are formed in the adrenal cortex are summarized under cortisone . The most important of these hormones, also called glucocorticoids, are corticosterone, cortisol and cortisone. They are required in the human body for many important functions such as circulation , muscles, the immune system and metabolism .

In recent years, the body’s own cortisone has been constantly improved through research, so that today it is available in artificial form as an effective drug. Furthermore, by changing the original substance, it was possible to reduce the side effects of the drug.

Today, cortisone is not only available in the form of tablets or injections, but also as a nasal spray , eye drops , cream or inhalant. As a result, the areas of application for cortisone have greatly increased.

Application, benefit & use

Cortisone has a strong anti-inflammatory effect and can significantly alleviate allergic diseases. For this reason, cortisone is used particularly for rheumatism , asthma or skin diseases .

In acute cases of rheumatic diseases, the cortisone is injected into the affected joint. Otherwise it is taken orally. It causes the inflammatory reactions in the diseased joints to be reduced.

The skin diseases in which cortisone is used include not only eczema or rashes , but also psoriasis and neurodermatitis . The inflammatory reactions of these diseases can be alleviated with the help of cortisone in the form of creams or ointments.

In the case of asthma, cortisone is usually used as an inhalation spray. On the one hand, this reduces mucus production in the bronchi and, on the other hand, the inflammatory reactions are reduced or even eliminated. The susceptibility of the bronchi to certain stimuli is also significantly reduced.

In the case of allergies , cortisone is used in the form of a nasal spray or eye drops. This reduces the allergic reactions. But cortisone can also be used in other inflammatory processes in the body, such as arthrosis.

Interactions with other drugs

When using cortisone , it can interact with various medications. It should therefore be consulted with the doctor treating you.

Drugs containing barbituric acid (various sleeping pills ), certain drugs used for epilepsy , and rifampicin for tuberculosis can reduce the effects of cortisone. Therefore, the dosage should be increased.

If cortisone is taken together with laxatives or water tablets, it can lead to an increased loss of potassium . If cortisone is taken orally in combination with the anti-rheumatic drugs NSAIDs, severe stomach problems or even a stomach ulcer can occur.

Risks & side effects

Although the side effects can be reduced by changing the body’s own cortisone , side effects can still occur. Cortisone is often prescribed in higher doses, especially at the beginning of therapy, which can lead to an increased occurrence of side effects.

It should be noted, however, that cortisone only distributes its effect, and thus also the side effects, over the entire body when taken by injection or tablets. In the case of local applications with drops, creams or sprays, there are only local side effects. Creams and ointments with cortisone can lead to acne, red veins and thin skin if used for a long time.

Even with eye drops and sprays with cortisone, side effects are only to be expected if they are used over a longer period of time. The weakening of the immune system can lead to bacterial or fungal infections . Thinning of the cornea in the eye or the nasal mucosa is also possible. In severe cases, a glaucoma can even develop.

Inhaling cortisone can also increase the risk of infection. However, this can be prevented by rinsing out the mouth afterwards.

In children, the use of cortisone can restrict growth, so development should be checked regularly if it is used for a longer period of time.

Since the body’s own cortisone production adjusts to the drug, it should always be used at the same time. Also, the drug must be weaned off slowly and not abruptly. Since the effect of cortisone only starts after three to four days, you should not expect a quick effect.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.