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What Are the Side Effects of Steroids?

Steroids have many potential side effects, especially when given orally, systemically, and for a long period of time.

Side effects of systemic steroids with short-term use include:

  • Weight gain
  • Fluid retention
  • High blood pressure

Potential systemic steroid side effects with long-term use include:

  • Growth suppression
  • Diabetes
  • Cataracts of the eyes
  • Bone thinning osteoporosis
  • Muscle weakness

Side effects of inhaled steroids may include cough, hoarseness, or fungal infections of the mouth.

Bronchodilators

Bronchodilators are inhaled drugs used to control asthma symptoms and are available only with a prescription. A short-acting bronchodilator is used to provide quick relief for asthma symptoms during an attack. Long-acting bronchodilators can provide up to 12 hours of relief from asthma symptoms, which is helpful to people who suffer from nighttime asthma problems.

How Do Bronchodilators Work?

Bronchodilators relax the muscle bands that tighten around the airways. This rapidly opens the airways, letting more air in and out of the lungs, improving breathing.

Bronchodilators can also help clear mucus from the lungs. As the airways open, the mucus can move more freely and is then more easily expelled.

Generally, 1-4 puffs of an inhaler relieve the wheezing and chest tightness associated with a mild attack. It may be necessary to take more puffs for severe attacks. You should speak with your health care provider about developing an asthma plan.

Some types of bronchodilators include:

  • Ventolin, Proventil, Pro-Air
  • Xopenex
  • Maxair

 

What Are the Side Effects of Bronchodilators?

Bronchodilators are potent drugs. If overused, they can cause dangerous side effects such as high blood pressure and a fast heartbeat.

Mast Cell Stabilizers

Mast cell stabilizers can be used to treat mild to moderate inflammation in the bronchial tubes and other allergy symptoms. These medications can also be used to prevent asthma symptoms during exercise and can be given before exposure to an allergen when it cannot be avoided.

Mast cell stabilizers are available as inhalers for asthma, eyedrops for allergic conjunctivitis, and nasal sprays for nasal allergy symptoms. Like with many drugs, it may take several weeks before the full effects are felt.

Some examples of mast cell stabilizers include:

  • Intal
  • Tilade
  • Crolom
  • Alomide
  • Alocril
  • Opticrom
  • Alamast
  • Nasalcrom
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