Home Steroid Information How Long Do Cortisone Injections (Shots) Last and Stay in Your System?

How Long Do Cortisone Injections (Shots) Last and Stay in Your System?

Posted by admin in Steroid Information Category. Reviewed and Updated: 5 July, 2019

If you intend to use any medicament from the corticosteroid “collection”, you should know the characteristics of its behavior, when to expect a positive effect and its long-term efficacy. Cortisone may be your trusted confederate in combating inflammatory reactions.

Let’s answer some key questions:

  • How long does it take for a cortisone shot to work?
  • How long does a cortisone shot stay in your system?
  • How long does its impact last?

To begin with, we will talk about cortisone itself and the rules surrounding its use.

Key Features and Cortisone Injection Use Standards

Corticosteroids are naturally generated in the adrenal glands. They are hormones belonging to catabolically acting substances. Synthetic versions are used to produce special preparations with widespread usage in medicine. Their determinant property is their ability to eliminate unwanted inflammatory processes.

Ruminating over this advantage, scientists produced an artificial corticosteroid called cortisone (Cortisonum, 17α,21-dihydroxypregn-4-ene-3,11,20-trione), which was the rudimentary preparation in the range of synthesized hormones identified by Edward Calvin Kendall (1886—1972) and Harold L. Mason (1919—1996). The drug was first available on the open market in 1948. In 1949, Percy Lavon Julian (1899—1975) heralded advancements in the manufacture of the substance from bile acids, namely the elimination of osmium tetroxide (osmium(VIII) oxide, OsO4), to be welcomed considering its expensiveness and toxicity.

Later, the invention of others took place (newer meds are often uniformly classed as “cortisones”). The injections support the human body in overpowering shock and provide relief from inflammation. But conversely, they suppress immunity and curtail resistance to viral diseases.

Cortisone is efficacious and works deftly if you adhere to certain instructions for its use:

  • It traditionally isn’t prescribed alone but in conjunction with other medicines and treatment methods.
  • Steroid overdose and repetitive administration can be unwholesome. It’s usually not recommended to exceed 3-4 cortisone injections each year to treat orthopaedic diseases (however, there is no one hard and fast rule).
  • After the procedure, you shouldn’t overwork the injection site otherwise, ligament rupture can occur.
  • Appropriate diagnostic tests should take place before the injections: consultation with a medic is essential and the importance of this cannot be overemphasised.

Inflammation will reduce and the drug’s effect even extends even to agents which trigger allergic reactions. The pain post injection will recede but the preparation isn’t considered an anaesthetic. Its action is durable and can last several weeks. Two types of cortisone injections: local and systemic, are available. The first provides the elimination of inflammation in a particular area of the person’s body. It includes intra-articular and spinal injections (like epidural steroid injections). The second group affects almost the entire organism extensively. Systemic injections are powerful for treating diseases, affecting the whole body, and allergies.

How Long Does it Take for Cortisone Shot to Work?

Usually, cortisone injections’ action begins quickly but not immediately; as a rule, you can expect relief within 3-5 days. According to user feedback, “everyone responds differently”. One blogger from the Healingwell site wrote that his mother received shots of cortisone in the shoulder to treat bursitis. She experienced significant relief within one day, whereas the user himself injected the drug into the hip and shoulder and suffered from an increase in pain for a week or two before the medication started to work.

If cortisone injections don’t assist on the first occasion, patients are typically advised to switch to another, more effective medication. Nowadays, cortisone is being replaced in the pharmaceutical market by more beneficial meds belonging to the corticosteroid group.

How Long Does a Cortisone Shot Stay in Your System?

To determine the time this drug remains in your body, you need to familiarize yourself with the concept described as its half-life.

This is the period during which the serum concentration of the substance (or its total content) is halved; this pharmacodynamic characteristic is very useful. Assume that after stopping intravenous administration, the substance’s concentration gets higher by 50% after one half-life. Then it lowers by another 25% (half of the remaining 50%), the total – 75% of the original. After three periods, it decreases by 87.5%> from the initial (75%> + half of the remaining 25%), and after four – by 94%. After four half-lives, the initial concentration is minimal. The half-elimination process involves the purification of the body by the kidneys and the liver, complete with the function of excretion and removal of the substance from the system.

Some preparations are characterized by incredibly short half-lives. For two ordinary Asprin pills, (Adprin-B, Durlaza, Ecotrin, Empirin in the US) or ibuprofen (Ibuprom, Ibuzin, Motrin IB), the elimination window is approximately four hours. But some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Piroxicam have a half-life of 24 hours.

As for cortisone, the half-life of this steroid drug is usually between 8 to 12 hours. The exact time for complete elimination of the drug is unknown. It depends on many factors including individual metabolism and the use of any other medications.

The duration of the action is determined by the type of cortisone administered and how long you rest after the procedure.

We wrote earlier on how long do steroids stay in your system.

How Long do Cortisone Shots Last?


Cortisone isn’t commonly prescribed in isolation by today’s healthcare professionals because it doesn’t have a sufficiently long-lasting action.

According to the NetDoctor Medical Team, the question “how long do cortisone injections last?” equates to, “how long is a piece of string”. The effect of the shot is influenced by several factors, for instance:

The level of inflammation; Cortisone is far more effective for acute and painful inflammation than for a prolonged and chronic response.
Causation. This can differ, it may be as varied as a trauma or degenerative joint disease.

The presence of the cause at a certain point. If the agent triggering inflammation no longer exists, the medication will act faster.
General health condition of the patient. A healthy organism will fight disease more quickly, so the medicine will work most effectively. For example, it’s an established fact that injuries in elderly people heal more slowly than in young people.

Therefore, according to the NetDoctor’s opinion, the medicine may last from several hours to several months. Perhaps a patient will need just one cortisone shot to ease the condition. There are many factors that influence duration. However, they note that it’s not recommended to receive many injections of cortisone. If the medicine gives only a short-term relief, it makes no sense to use it repeatedly as it can cause severe side effects of steroids.

The cortisone’s effect may be decreased under the influence of barbiturates, phenytoin, rifampicin and other inducers of liver enzymes. If a patient is on these drugs, a correction of the corticosteroid dosage is necessary.

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On our online databank, you can find interesting facts about steroids including anabolics, corticosteroids, estrogens and progesterone. Read about what is the best needle for steroid injection, what are steroids used for medically, how do steroids reduce inflammation, and much more. In addition, we have articles about athletes who used steroids (anabolics). Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Cook, Mark Wahlberg represent only a small segment of the described athletes. We have a lot of new information for you to get your teeth into!

Data provided on this resource does not pretend to be an edict and isn’t a replacement for a full-fledged medical consultation. This information isn’t of an instructional nature, merely informative and thought provoking. Always consult a licenced specialist before using any steroid medication.