Concerns about glucocorticoid side effects are highlighted in new study

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glucocorticoid, side effects, moon face, weight gain, arthritis digest, arthritis information, arthritis magazineMore work needs to be done to address the side effects of glucocorticoid therapy, which is used in rheumatoid arthritis according to a study from Arthritis Research UK.

Glucocorticoids such as prednisolone, prednisone or dexamethasone do have a number of side effects, some more serious than others.

Now experts found that the side effects that actually matter most to patients are not always the ones that are prioritised by healthcare professionals.

A total of 604 people recently completed a survey, analysis of which revealed that:

  • The most clinically serious side effects (such as diabetes, eye disease and cardiovascular problems) tended only to be rated as important by people who had personally experienced them.
  • The side effects that were of greatest importance were weight gain, insomnia and facial swelling that leads to a rounded appearance.

So more needs to be done to educate glucocorticoid recipients about the side effects that are most likely to cause them concern.

“This study has shown that weight gain, insomnia and moon face were the top three most important side effects to patients taking glucocorticoids,” the researchers explain. “Despite this, they are not widely studied, with many unanswered questions.

“Research should be informed by patients, and targeted to provide patients with better information about these side effects of high importance.”

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