Steroids (oral)
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Patient Guide

 Steroids (oral)

 Steroids (oral)

About your medicine

Your doctor has prescribed an oral steroid for you.

What are steroids used for?

Steroids are similar to the natural hormones produced in the body. Steroids are used to reduce inflammation or calm an overactive immune system. They are used to relieve swelling, redness, and itch and to treat a number of medical problems such as severe allergies or skin problems, asthma, arthritis, autoimmune or other diseases as determined by your doctor.

This medicine has been prescribed for your current medical condition only and should not be given to other people or used for other problems.

How should I take this medicine?

  • Steroids come in the form of tablets. Take this medicine as directed by your doctor.
  • Take this medicine after food to reduce stomach upset.
  • If you are taking this medicine at regular daily intervals on a long-term basis, take the tablets at the same time each day so that it becomes a habit.
  • Do not stop taking this medicine unless directed by your doctor. Your doctor may want to reduce the amount you are taking gradually before stopping completely.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

This depends on the dosing schedule prescribed for you.

  • 'Every other day' dosing:
    If you remember it on the same morning, take it as soon as you remember it. Then resume your regular dosing schedule. If you remember it much later in the day, take it on the following morning. Then stop taking your medicine for a day and start your regular dosing schedule again.
  • 'Once a day' dosing:
    Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it and then resume your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed one. If you do not remember until the next day, take only your regular dose.
  • 'Several times a day' dosing
    Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, take double your next dose. Then resume your regular dosing schedule.

What possible side effects may it cause?

If you are taking this medicine for short periods of time, side effects are uncommon. If any of the following effects persist or are severe, consult your doctor:

  • Stomach upset or discomfort
  • Decreased or blurred vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Muscle weakness
  • Bone pain

If you are on long term treatments, consult your doctor if any of these additional effects occur:

  • Acne
  • Bloody, black stools or severe stomach ache
  • Roundness or fullness of the face
  • Swelling of the feet or legs
  • Wounds that will not heal or easy bruising
  • Persistent sore throat or fever
  • Severe nausea and diarrhea
  • Worsening of your diabetic or high blood pressure control

What precautions should I take?

  • While on long-term steroid treatment, your body resistance to infection may be temporarily suppressed. You must inform your doctor:
    a. Before you have any immunization
    b. Before you undergo any kind of surgery, have skin tests, or
    c. If you get a serious infection or injury
  • For women: Before taking this medicine, check with your doctor if you are pregnant, intending to conceive or are breastfeeding
  • Inform your doctor if your condition worsens or if you are a diabetic and notice changes in your blood sugar level.
  • Inform your doctor if your blood pressure control worsens
  • Inform your doctor if you have any visual disturbances
  • Bruising may occur more easily while you are taking this medicine. Protect yourself from all injuries
  • If your doctor has put you on a low salt diet, follow his dietary instructions strictly. This is usually to prevent excessive water retention
  • Avoid taking alcohol or products containing aspirin together with this medicine. This combination can cause stomach problems
  • Inform your doctor of any other medications you are taking at the same time. This includes prescription medicines or over-the-counter medicines, including vitamins, minerals, Chinese supplements and herbal products
  • When you are on oral steroids, keep to your appointments regularly so that your doctor can monitor your response and adjust your treatment accordingly
  • Do not allow anyone else to take this medication
  • Inform your doctor if you are sick. You may need additional oral steroids to provide for sick-day coverage.

How do I store this medicine?

  • Keep this medicine away from heat and direct sunlight in a cool, dry place, out of reach of children.
  • Do not keep this medicine with other medications in the same container. Keep each medicine separately in labeled containers.

When in doubt, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
National Skin Centre (Singapore)
1 Mandalay Road, Singapore 308205
Tel: 63508454


Last updated on 05 May 2020

Last updated on 05 May 2020