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For most people, steroid inhalers and steroid injectionsÂ should not cause any troublesome side effects.Â Steroid tablets are generally prescribed with more caution, as these can potentially cause more problems.
Corticosteroid tablets are the most powerful type of steroid medication, because they can affect the whole body.
They shouldn't be used if you have an ongoing widespread infection, because they could make it more severe. However, you should continue to take corticosteroids if youÂ develop an infection while already being treated,Â unless advised otherwise.
Steroid tablets should be used with caution in people with:
They should also be used with caution in people with a health condition that could be made worse by taking oral corticosteroids, including:
In these situations, you willÂ only be prescribed oral corticosteroids if the benefits of treatment clearly outweigh any potential risks.
Most people can safely have corticosteroid injections, but they should be avoided or used with caution if you have an ongoing infection or a blood clotting disorder (such as haemophilia).
There is generally no reason why someone shouldn't be able to use a steroid inhaler or steroid spray, but these should be usedÂ with caution in people with ongoing infections, such asÂ tuberculosis (TB).
Corticosteroids are generally safe to use during pregnancy. However, they're not usually recommended unless the potential benefits outweigh the risks.
For example,Â steroid tabletsÂ may be recommended if you're pregnant and have severeÂ asthma,Â because the risk to your babyÂ from uncontrolled asthma is higher than from the medication.
There is no evidence that using a steroid inhaler during pregnancy increases the risk of problems such as birth defects, soÂ youÂ can usually continue to use this as normal while you're pregnant.Â
If a woman needs to take steroid tablets while she is breastfeeding, a type called prednisolone is usually recommended, because it is thought to have the least chance of causing the baby any adverse effects. As a precaution, it's usually recommended that a breastfeeding mother waits three to four hours after taking a tablet before feeding her baby.
Steroid injections, inhalers and sprays are not thought to pose a risk to babies being breastfed.
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