Cortisone is actually a hormone in the body that is a corticosteroid. When it is available as a drug, it is said to belong to the class of drugs known as steroids. These are drugs that suppress symptoms of inflammation in the body. Cortisone is chemically similar to corticosterone. This is administered either intravenously, orally, intraarticularly or cutaneously. Cortisone is an important drug that directly or indirectly alters and affects the functioning of the entire body's systems. This is because, cortisone suppresses symptoms of inflammation in the body by directly suppressing the activity of the immune system. Thus, cortisone is a common drug that is used to treat autoimmune disorders, joint inflammations, severe infections, etc. However, there are certain cortisone side effects that one needs to keep in mind while taking this drug. Given below are some of the side effects of cortisone.
Increased Suppression of Immune System
Although cortisone causes suppression of the immune system, which is its main function, however, this in itself is one of the biggest side effects of steroids. This is because continued suppression of the immune system only suppresses the inflammatory response of the body. This leads to decreased response when there is an entry of any pathogen into the body. Thus, doctors while prescribing steroids, need to keep in mind that they are equipping the patient with a double edged sword, so steroids should be administered only as a last resort while treating a disease or disorder. The effects of steroids can easily backfire, and the person can end up contracting an infection which could be just as serious as the disease that is being suppressed.
Injury at Injection Site
More often than not, administration of cortisone is done in an intravenous or cutaneous mode. Thus, the necessity of piercing the skin is often seen as one of the most discomforting side effects in women. Furthermore, due to continuous piercing of skin, there are high chances of injury or even infection at the injection site. The vein into which cortisone is repeatedly injected could get inflamed, which leads to a condition known as phlebitis. Other short term side effects due to injecting cortisone include the possibility of shrinkage of skin and depigmentation of the site.
Sometimes, if adequate precautions are not taken, an infection can be introduced into the body or there may be a vessel rupture or tendon injury at the site of injection. If injections are given into joints of people suffering from arthritis, then there may be an injury or thinning of cartilage, weakening of ligaments, increased inflammatory response, etc. This especially increases the chances of aggravation of certain conditions, like blood disorders and blood clotting disorders.
Other Side Effects
There are certain other relatively rare side effects of cortisone. Rashes, weight gain, puffiness of face, blood pressure alterations, etc. all may be seen as side effects of this steroidal drug. Muscle weakness, fatigue, skin ulcerations, easy bruising, cataract formation, pain, pigmentation changes, loss of fatty tissue, etc. Depression is also seen in some patients as a long term side effect of using cortisone.
Thus, these were the commonly seen cortisone side effects in men and women. However, along with these side effects, the dosage and withdrawal symptoms also need to be kept in mind when dealing with steroids. This is because steroids are drugs that severely affect the functioning of the entire body, and thus, sudden cessation of administration of cortisone can lead to withdrawal symptoms that would be similar or even more serious than the above mentioned side effects.