Why even short-term corticosteroid use is risky

Doctors may need to think twice before prescribing short courses of oral corticosteroids after new evidence highlighted an increased risk of acute adverse events, even with relatively low doses.

The large population-based study of 1.5 million US adults has found that short-term oral corticosteroid use is linked to “significantly higher rates of sepsis, venous thromboembolism and fracture”.

The researchers note that prescriptions for fewer than 30 days are widespread and commonly practised by both GPs and specialists for URTIs, spinal conditions and allergies.

“Within 30 days of corticosteroid initiation,

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