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Jornal de Pediatria
On-line version ISSN 1678-4782
LONGUI, Carlos Alberto. Glucocorticoid therapy: minimizing side effects. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2007, vol.83, n.5, suppl., pp. S163-S171. ISSN 1678-4782. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0021-75572007000700007.
OBJECTIVE:To describe the main undesirable side effects of glucocorticoid therapy, mechanisms of action and the necessary measures to minimize side effects. SOURCES: Author's experience, supplemented with papers published in MEDLINE. SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS: The principles for minimizing undesirable side effects of glucocorticoid therapy include: a) only use glucocorticoids if they are essential; b) avoid the use of long-acting glucocorticoids, using short- and intermediate-acting glucocorticoids instead; c) keep treatment as short as possible, since treatment lasting 5 to 7 days shows fewer side effects and quick recovery of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis; d) use glucocorticoids with local activity preferentially, such as inhaled glucocorticoids; e) use in association with other drugs, especially with other more specific anti-inflammatory or immune suppressive drugs, promoting a synergistic effect in order to avoid the use of glucocorticoids or to reduce dosage and duration of glucocorticoid therapy; f) indicate the minimum effective dose, respecting individual sensitivity to glucocorticoids. CONCLUSION: In order to choose the best glucocorticoid schedule it is essential to understand the pharmacological characteristics and the biological action of glucocorticoids, allowing the most adequate indication, glucocorticoid dose, mode of administration and the duration of glucocorticoid therapy.
Keywords : Glucocorticoids; side effects; sensitivity; receptor.