Corticosteroid medications mimic the effects of the hormones that the adrenal glands on top of the kidneys produce, explains Mayo Clinic. They help suppress inflammation and the immune system, making them useful for treating conditions related to swelling and autoimmune disorders. Oral corticosteroid medications are often prescribed to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, while inhaled preparations of these drugs may be prescribed for asthma. Topical creams containing corticosteroids may be used to heal skin conditions, and injections of these drugs are useful to reducing the pain and inflammation of tendinitis.
Kaposi's sarcoma has been reported to occur in patients receiving corticosteroid
therapy. Discontinuation of corticosteroids may result in clinical remission.
Although controlled clinical trials have shown corticosteroids to be effective in speeding the resolution of acute exacerbations of multiple sclerosis , they do not show that corticosteroids affect the ultimate outcome or natural history of the disease. The studies do show that relatively high doses of corticosteroids are necessary to demonstrate a significant effect. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION .)