Corticosteroids in IBD

Corticosteroids in IBD

There are many drugs that are used for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Corticosteroids are sometimes used as a form of treatment, depending on how bad the disease is.

What are corticosteroids?

Corticosteroids are used to lower inflammation in the body, and are used in the treatment of many diseases such as asthma and arthritis. In IBD, they are used to suppress the immune system to prevent it from mistakenly attacking the bowels. The aim is to reduce damage to the bowel, reduce symptoms and promote healing. They are commonly used when during a disease flare and should only be utilised for a short period of time.

Corticosteroids may affect the entire body (systemically acting) or just the bowel (locally acting). The 2 most common steroids prescribed are prednisolone and budesonide. As these drugs work slightly differently, treatment outcomes will be discussed by the prescribing doctor. As corticosteroids are only used on a short-term basis, your doctor may also commence other medication for disease control.

Side effects of corticosteroids

Common side effects may include fluid retention, weight gain, increased appetite, sleep disturbance, high blood pressure and high blood sugars.

These medications will be prescribed by your specialist and the dosing instructions should be followed closely to reduce the likelihood of any complications.

The friendly team at IBD SA can answer any questions on the use of corticosteroids in treatment.


Contributed by Dr Arvind Rajagopalan