Naturally occurring in the body, cortisone or adrenal corticosteroids are produced by the adrenal glands. It is a type of steroid which is released from the adrenal gland when your body is under stress.
Synthetic cortisone is not a pain-relieving drug as many think, but rather a powerful anti-inflammatory medication.It can be used to replace steroids in conditions of adrenal insufficiency (low production of needed steroids produced by the adrenal glands). It also modifies the body’s response to certain immune stimulation. It is used for a variety of ailments today from endocrine and rheumatic disorders to collagen and gastrointestinal diseases.
Cortisone is classified in a group of drugs called steroids and is a trade name for the generic chemotherapy drug Hydrocortisone.
As wonderful as cortisone is as a drug, there are some side-effects associated with its use. Repeated cortisone injections multiply these effects and increase the risk of potential problems. The side effects are usually limited to chronic ( that is;repeated or prolonged) use; short term use is usually without major problems.
Corticosteroids can be taken by mouth, inhaled, applied to the skin, given intravenously (into a vein), or injected into the tissues of the body.
Skin diseases such as psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo, urticaria, lichen planus can all be treated with cortisone but users should be aware of the side effects which continued use can have and should seek alternative natural remedies.
The skin becomes very delicate and bruises easily and cortisone can cause atrophy of hair follicles and sebaceous glands, which leads to alopecia (hair loss). Another common side-effect is whitening of the skin where the injection is given. It is used as treatment of certain kinds of autoimmune diseases, skin conditions, asthma and other lung conditions. Tissue repair and healing may be delayed with an associated increase in the liability to infection.
The use of corticosteroids may cause psychic derangements ranging from euphoria, insomnia, mood swings, personality changes and severe depression to frank psychotic manifestations.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you: if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement.
Also if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances if you are scheduled for a vaccination with a live virus vaccine (eg, smallpox) if you have a history of an underactive thyroid, liver or kidney problems, heart problems or heart attack.
Cortisone is used to stimulate appetite in cancer patients with severe appetite problems. Other side effects that are less serious, but if they don’t subside should be looked at by your doctor include these include insomnia, nausea, vomiting, or stomach upset fatigue.
The following are less common side effects (occurring in 10 to 29%) for patients receiving hydrocortisone: Headaches, Dizziness, Mood swings, Cataracts and bone thinning.
Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible: bloody or black, tarry stools, confusion, excitement, restlessness, a false sense of well-being.
If you experience symptoms or side effects, especially if severe, be sure to discuss them with your health care team. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. Some people taking cortisones for short periods have no unpleasant side effects; however, disturbances of sleep patterns and increased appetite are common.
Cortisone is a powerful drug. It is useful in suppressing inflammation in the short term, and in the long term, dissolving scar tissue, stabilizing the body’s defenses, speeding the healing process, and is very effective in causing certain cysts to disappear. It is an excellent drug in many cases but is neither a pain medication nor an anesthetic.
A natural alternative to steroids in cases of topical skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema is crocodile oil. Although there has not been a great ammount of recent research on this natural remedy, it is now widely reported that the results have been very beneficial without any side effects.