May 4, 2017 – Dangers of Steroids


Anchor lead: Steroid medications can cause of host of negative side effects, even with a single use, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Blood clots, fractures, and infections in the blood- those are three of the complications that can arise when someone takes even a single, short course of steroid medications, the British Medical Journal reported recently. Alicia Arbaje, a geriatrics expert at Johns Hopkins, says the problem can be magnified for older people.

Arbaje: Steroids in particular can have a side effect of blurring the processing of the brain and blurring our sensations putting older adults at high risk for delirium. We know that delirium carries a high risk for mortality because it represents something going on in the brain showing that the brain doesn’t have enough physiologic reserve to handle whatever is going on at any particular time. Steroids are very dangerous in older adults, obviously if you have an indication and you need it you should be on the lowest possible to manage your condition. :31

Arbaje says both liver and kidneys don’t process medications as quickly in older folks as they do earlier in life, so drugs stay around longer and may have more pronounced effects, so dose modification may be necessary. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.