• How Should You Take Steroid Tablets?

    Written By:
    Reviewed By: Stephen N Lipsky MD
    Nov. 05, 2020

    Follow your ophthalmologist’s instructions about how and when to take steroid tablets. Notify your primary care doctor you will be taking steroids. The following are several important tips to follow:

    • take your tablets with a meal to avoid stomach irritation.
    • carefully watch your diet as well as your salt intake
    • exercise regularly to maintain muscle strength
    • limit alcohol consumption
    • avoid vaccination or immunization, unless your doctor tells you it is OK.

    Side effects of steroid tablets

    Steroid tablets are a “systemic” medicine, which means they can affect your whole body, and not just one area of treatment (like using ointment for a cut on your finger). This can cause many side effects, such as:

    • High blood pressure
    • Raised pressure inside the eye, which can lead to glaucoma
    • Weight gain
    • Changes in mood or behavior
    • Swelling from water retention
    • Skin bruising easily

    Long-term use of steroids can:

    • weaken your immune system. This makes it easier to become sick and get infections.
    • make your bones thinner and more fragile (osteoporosis)
    • cause diabetes or worsen existing diabetes
    • cause cataracts (clouding of the lens inside your eye)

    This is not a complete list of side effects. Call your doctor if you get these or any other side effects while taking steroid tablets.

    Do not stop taking the tablets suddenly. This may result in severe side effects. When you stop taking steroids, you should slowly reduce your dosage. You may still notice minor effects, including:

    • fever
    • diarrhea
    • lightheadedness
    • tiredness
    • lack of appetite
    • joint aches

    You can develop serious eye disorders if you take steroid tablets for conditions not related to the eye. These disorders include glaucoma and cataracts. Tell your doctor if you have problems while using steroids, including:

    • vision problems
    • eye pain
    • redness, and
    • tearing