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Arthritis Today

Corticosteroids Overview

Steroids, or corticosteroids, treat inflammation in joints and organs.

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Corticosteroids (glucocorticoids) are medications that mimic the effects of the hormone cortisol, which helps reduce inflammation in the body. Doctors prescribe corticosteroid pills for people who need quick relief from severe inflammation, such as those with rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus or other arthritis-related conditions. However, the use of corticosteroids in RA is debated, because some doctors believe the long-term benefits do not outweigh the risk of side effects. Corticosteroids may be prescribed short-term until DMARDs start working, or long-term in low doses.

To learn more, see the Corticosteroids Drug Guide.

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