Steroid injections are cortisone shots. A variety of conditions can be effectively treated with cortisone shots, but they can also have adverse effects.
An adrenal gland’s production of cortisone hormone is mimicked by these shots. A wide range of conditions can be treated with them, including autoimmune disorders and inflammatory diseases.
There are, however, certain people who should not receive cortisone shots. The injections may cause undesirable side effects and interact with other medications.
What cortisone shots are, how they’re administered, and their uses are discussed in greater detail in this article. In addition, we discuss the side effects and other risks related to cortisone shots.
Cortisone shots: what are they?
Cortisone injections are simply injections of the steroid corticosteroid cortisone. As one scientific paper explains, corticosteroids are synthesized versions of steroid hormones produced naturally by a person’s adrenal glands.
Mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids are two types of steroid hormones produced by the adrenal glands. Mineralocorticoids are responsible for regulating how much water and electrolytes are in a person’s cells, whereas glucocorticoids work differently. Various functions of the body are regulated by steroid hormones, including:
- Changing the metabolism of an individual
- Immune suppression
- Inflammation control
- Constriction of the blood vessels, which is called vasoconstriction
Scientists can engineer corticosteroids so that they are more like mineralocorticoids or more like glucocorticoids when manufacturing them. As a glucocorticoid, cortisone functions.
In contrast to anabolic steroids, cortisone and other corticosteroids do not promote muscle growth.
Cortisone injections administered by doctors
There are several ways doctors can administer cortisone injections.
Here are some of the more common options:
- Intra-articular: within the joints
- A muscle is intramuscular
- Intravenous: injected into the blood
- Epidural spinal anesthesia
Doctors select the best option based on the condition to be treated. In the case of knee pain, a doctor may give an intra-articular shot of cortisone to reduce inflammation.
In contrast, if a doctor wants to reduce inflammation throughout a person’s body, an intravenous injection is likely to be prescribed.
Cortisone shots are prescribed for what conditions?
The immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory effects of cortisone are similar to those of glucocorticoids. Experts at Trusted Source state that cortisone shots are effective in treating many conditions. They include:
- Allergies and asthma attacks
- Bowel disease that causes inflammation
- RA is a form of rheumatoid arthritis
- There is a disease called MS (multiple sclerosis).
What is the effectiveness of cortisone shots?
A cortisone shot does not work for a fixed amount of time. Some start working after a few days, while others work just hours after the injection.
It may take several months for the effects of a cortisone shot to become apparent.
Does cortisone last for a long time?
In some cases, the effects of cortisone shots can last for several months. It may indeed take several months for some cortisone shots to take effect.
A cortisone shot lasts according to the amount injected and whether it interacts with other medications.
Some antiviral drugs, for example, can reduce the effects of certain corticosteroids, according to scientistsTrusted Source.
Limits on the use of
Cortisone shots are generally not given to people who have recently had another cortisone injection. Cortisone shots are rarely given to the same body part more than three times per year.
Cortisone shots require no preparation on the part of the patient. Other medications can affect these shots, however. Corticosteroids, for example, are known to increase the effects of anticoagulants. The doctor may, therefore, recommend reducing the dosage before administering a cortisone shot.
Additionally, some doctors are concerned about the interaction between corticosteroids and the COVID-19 vaccination.
A study published in 2021 found no evidence that epidural corticosteroid injections reduce the effectiveness or safety of COVID-19 vaccines. The authors of this study acknowledge that further research is needed on this topic.
Different cortisone shots produce their effects in different ways, depending on the condition they are used to treat.
As an example, MS occurs when a person’s immune system attacks their neurons’ outer layer. MS patients may benefit from corticosteroids by suppressing their immune systems.
It is also an autoimmune disease, like RA. It causes stiffness and pain in joints due to autoimmune inflammation. A person’s symptoms can be improved by taking corticosteroids, which reduce the inflammation that occurs in their joints as a result of this condition.
Despite the benefits of cortisone shots, these medications can also have serious adverse health effects. According to a recent review article, the following conditions pose a risk:
- Bone fractures and osteoporosis in long-term users
- The loss of muscle
- Tiredness and weakness
- Feeling nauseated
- A tummy ache
- Children who regularly use tobacco have impaired growth
- A cataract
Following a cortisone injection, anyone experiencing any of these symptoms should seek medical advice immediately.