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Problems with prolonged use of corticosteroids (methylprednisolone)

  I have heard there can be serious problems with prolonged use of corticosteroids.  What can happen,  and how long is "prolonged" use?  I have MS and have approximately 3 exacerbations a year in which I am given methylprednisolone for approximately 5 days during each attack (IV or oral and sometimes both).  I am assuming if this pattern were to continue for many years, that it would be considered long-term use.
  What happens?  Thanks.
Thanks for the question. As you know the body produces its own internal steroids so if you given external steroids over a long enough time periods (varies depending on the dose) then you can turn off internal production so any sudden stopping of your external steroids can be dangerous. Having steroids a few times a year for 5 days would not be considered chronic use. Daily steroids for a month is more like chronic use. Steroids can cause thinning of the bones, easy bruising, stomach irritation, weight gain, cataracts etc. You should speak to your neurologist about your concerns but it does not sound like your use is excessive. If you are having continued flairs you should look into other treatment options. If you wish a referral to CCF call 216 444 5559.
This information is provided for general medical education purposes only. Please consult your docotor regarding diagnostic and treatment options.

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