Corticosteroid medications mimic the effects of the hormones that the adrenal glands on top of the kidneys produce, explains Mayo Clinic. They help suppress inflammation and the immune system, making them useful for treating conditions related to swelling and autoimmune disorders. Oral corticosteroid medications are often prescribed to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, while inhaled preparations of these drugs may be prescribed for asthma. Topical creams containing corticosteroids may be used to heal skin conditions, and injections of these drugs are useful to reducing the pain and inflammation of tendinitis.
Patients requiring oral corticosteroids should be weaned slowly from systemic corticosteroid use after transferring to Advair Diskus. Prednisone reduction can be accomplished by reducing the daily prednisone dose by mg on a weekly basis during therapy with Advair Diskus. Lung function (mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV 1 ] or morning peak expiratory flow [AM PEF]), beta-agonist use, and asthma symptoms should be carefully monitored during withdrawal of oral corticosteroids. In addition, patients should be observed for signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency, such as fatigue, lassitude, weakness, nausea and vomiting, and hypotension.
Corticosteroids can produce reversible hypothalamic- pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis suppression with the potential for corticosteroid insufficiency after withdrawal of treatment. Adrenocortical insufficiency may result from too rapid withdrawal of corticosteroids and may be minimized by gradual reduction of dosage. This type of relative insufficiency may persist for up to 12 months after discontinuation of therapy; therefore, in any situation of stress occurring during that period, hormone therapy should be reinstituted. If the patient is receiving steroids already, dosage may have to be increased.