Understanding Asthma Medications (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Oral and Intravenous Corticosteroids
Methylprednisolone (Medrol, Solu-Medrol), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), and prednisolone (Pediapred) may need to be prescribed when inhaled medications fail to control asthma. Examples of such situations include after an acute asthma attack or when a respiratory infection or allergy aggravates asthma symptoms.
How corticosteroids work
Corticosteroids decrease the inflammation within the airway passages that contributes to asthma symptoms and acute attacks.
Who should not use these medications
Drug or food interactions
Use caution with other drugs that suppress the immune system, such as cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral). Phenobarbital (Luminol), phenytoin (Dilantin), or rifampin (Rifadin) may decrease the effectiveness of corticosteroids. Some drugs, such as ketoconazole (Nizoral) or erythromycin (E-Mycin, E.E.S.), may increase blood levels and toxicity of corticosteroids. An increased risk of stomach bleeding (bleeding ulcer) may occur when taken with high-dose aspirin or with blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin). Corticosteroids tend to increase blood glucose levels in individuals with diabetes, so diabetic therapy, such as insulin or oral medicines, may need to be adjusted. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking other medications with oral corticosteroids.
Do not suddenly stop taking oral corticosteroids if you have used them for more than a week. Doses must be gradually decreased with precise directions from your doctor. These drugs may decrease growth in children, so the lowest dose possible must be used. Long-term use may cause mood changes, osteoporosis, sleep irregularities, increased hair growth, cataracts, increased eye pressures (risk for glaucoma), roundness of the face, or thinning skin. Call your doctor if you experience any of the following:
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