Corticosteroids are widely used in the treatment of allergic and inflammatory conditions. It is important to recognize that there are great species differences in the responses to glucocorticoids and that man is a "steroid-resistant" species. Steroids affect metabolism and distribution of T and B lymphocytes, but do not significantly affect antibody production in man. Steroids profoundly affect the inflammatory response by way of vasoconstriction, decreased chemotaxis, and interference with macrophages. Steroids affect types I, III, and IV mechanisms of immunologic injury. There are still enormous gaps in our knowledge of the actions of glucocorticosteroids.
Abdominal or stomach pain or burning (continuing); acne; bloody or black, tarry stools; changes in vision; eye pain; filling or rounding out of the face; headache; irregular heartbeat; menstrual problems; muscle cramps or pain; muscle weakness; nausea; pain in arms, back, hips, legs, ribs, or shoulders; pitting, scarring, or depression of skin at place of injection; reddish purple lines on arms, face, groin, legs, or trunk; redness of eyes; sensitivity of eyes to light; stunting of growth (in children); swelling of feet or lower legs; tearing of eyes; thin, shiny skin; trouble in sleeping; unusual bruising; unusual increase in hair growth; unusual tiredness or weakness; vomiting; weight gain (rapid); wounds that will not heal
Corticosteroids have been used to control MS relapses for decades. Data on the effectiveness of these medications in MS comes from four randomized, placebo-controlled studies of intravenous and oral methylprednisolone. Altogether, these studies included 74 people with MS who received corticosteroid treatment and 66 who received placebo. Corticosteroid treatment with methylprednisolone resulted in greater speed of recovery from exacerbation compared with placebo. However, treatment did not decrease the risk of future relapses or decrease the progression of disability.