What Are the Different Types of Corticosteroids?


Quick Answer

Corticosteroids are classified into two types, glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids, according to MedicineNet. Glucorticoids suppress inflammation while helping to break down nutrients such as proteins and fats. Mineralocorticoids regulate the balance between salt and water in the human body.

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Full Answer

Corticosteroids are types of steroid hormones produced by the human body or made artificially as drugs, notes MedicineNet. Synthetic and systemic corticosteroids mimic the natural hormones that the adrenal glands produce. One example of a systemic mineralocorticoid is fludrocortisone. Oral or injectable glucocorticoid medications include hydrocortisone, prednisone, triamcinolone and dexamethasone. Fludrocortisone has both salt-retaining properties and significant anti-inflammatory effects in the human body as opposed to one effect or the other.

Doctors prescribe corticosteroids for several conditions involving inflammation and immune system issues, according to MedicineNet. Anti-inflammatory glucocorticoid drugs help alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, bronchitis, asthma and allergies related to the nose and eyes.

Patients who need inhaled anti-inflammatory corticosteroids for their lungs have several choices, according to Drugs.com. These inhaled drugs deliver smaller doses of corticosteroids than systemic drugs, but the dosages are usually enough to control symptoms. Inhaled corticosteroids reduce the amount of the drug absorbed by other parts of the body, thereby putting more active ingredients into the lungs and reducing overall side effects. Examples of generic inhaled corticosteroids include budesonide, fluticasone, flunisolide, ciclesonide and mometasone.

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