Rapid Rx Quiz: Corticosteroids

Mary L. Windle, PharmD


July 14, 2022

Among patients receiving chronic corticosteroid therapy, toxicity is a common cause of iatrogenic illness. Courses over 3 weeks should rapidly taper to physiologic doses, to be followed by a slow weaning and evaluation of the adrenal function. For as long as 9-12 months after withdrawal, long-term, high-dose suppressive therapy can suppress the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

Corticosteroid therapy that has been given for less than 1 week can usually be stopped without tapering. The clinical conditions for which the patient took the medication determines tapering conditions when dosing spans 1-3 weeks. Rapid and complete withdrawal can cause flare of the underlying disease and adrenocorticotropic hormone suppression.

Learn more about corticosteroid dose equivalents.

This Rapid Rx Quiz was excerpted and adapted from the Medscape articles: Dexamethasone, Prednisone, Corticosteroids May Raise Risk of Sickle Cell Pain Crisis, Cortisone, What Are the Contraindications to Intrauterine Device (IUD) Insertion?, Norethindrone, Hydrocortisone, and Corticosteroid Dose Equivalents.

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