Use of Steriods
Corticosteroids are powerful medicines used to treat a variety of inflammatory disorders to prevent or reduce damage to your body. In ophthalmology, steroids are used to preserve vision by suppressing inflammation that destroys or interferes with the normal structure and function of the eye and its surrounding tissues.
Steroids are normally produced by your body daily, but are used in much greater doses for medical purposes. The effects of steroids at high doses are powerful and beneficial. However, common side effects include the following: weight gain, fluid retention, elevated blood pressure/sugar, weakening of bones, stomach ulcers, nervousness and suppression of your immune system.
Therefore, you will require careful monitoring while you are being treated with steroids, particularly if you have a chronic infection (ie. TB), hypertension, peptic ulcer or gastritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis or psychologic disturbances.
Important DO’S and DON’TS while on therapeutic corticosteroids:
- Follow directions carefully.
- Take steroids with meals or snacks.
- Always take steroids in the morning if only one dose.
- For multiple doses, take them at evenly spaced intervals.
- Eat meat, bananas, raisins or juices rich in potassium.
- Antacids, mild or non-spicy foods, or a high-calcium diet are helpful
- Minimal salt intake, or use a potassium chloride salt.
- Exercise regularly.
- Do not stop taking steroids suddenly, they must be tapered.
- Do not get vaccinated, especially against smallpox.
- Avoid contact with patients with colds, flu or infections.
- Avoid sweets, starches and salty foods
- When you become ill or need an operation, your body normally increases its steroid output 5-15 times the normal amount. While on oral steroids, your body may not be able to produce the amount you need in such emergencies. Therefore, it is important to see your physician on a regular basis to regulate your steroid dose for the appropriate circumstances.
NOTIFY YOUR DOCTOR FOR THE FOLLOWING:
Before taking new medications, before modifying the current dose of steroids, visual change, eye pain, weight gain, swelling, muscle weakness, black tarry stools, vomiting of blood, infection, burning, pulling of the face, menstrual irregularities, prolonged sore throat, fever, cold, fatigue, depression, change in appetite, nausea, dizziness, nervousness or change in sleep patterns.