Corticosteroid meds are often used for allergy. Steroid shot (allergen immunotherapy) is one of treatment options. Many people wonder: “How long does a steroid shot last?” In this article, we’ll try to give answer for this and other questions.
Steroids for allergies – main features and types
The cortex of the adrenal glands produces corticosteroid hormones that perform many important functions in the body. They participate in most biochemical processes and regulate the basic mechanism in the body, control the functioning of immunity, blood glucose rates, and also carbohydrate, protein, water-salt metabolism. Synthetic corticosteroids are used as medicines for inflammation and allergic diseases.
Steroids are not a top-priority drug that you should pay attention to when you are allergic. This remedy is usually used after the use of antihistamines and other medicaments didn’t give the expected result. Steroids may decrease the quantity of mucus formation, reduce the swelling of the nasal mucosa and remove other manifestations of allergy.
Usually, it is desirable to use steroids before the onset of seizures, and it may take a certain amount of time before obtaining the desired result. Recently, steroid preparations, which can be used in small doses due to inhalation in the nose, have been distributed. However, the effectiveness of these meds only extends to the nasal mucosa. Inhaled steroids are commonly used to treat patients with hay fever. Adverse effects in case of their use are very rare.
Corticosteroids can be used in both aerosol (steroid nasal spray) and nose drops forms. Both methods are quite effective, however, it is better to use drops when the nasal sinuses are completely clogged. In this situation, the drops provide good penetration into the affected area. When the drops clear the clogged nasal passages and eliminate swelling, then you can use inhalation.
In very severe cases, a short cycle of treatment with systemic steroids may be required. These include, for example, prednisolone, which is sold in the form of tablets. Steroids, offered in the form of tablets, are characterized by a greater number of side effects. In this, they are significantly different from aerosols, which get into the blood in much smaller quantities. Another type of anti-allergic steroids is injectable corticosteroids. They also have a systemic effect.
Steroid shots for allergies
Allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots or injections), is a type of long-term treatment that improves symptoms of allergic rhinitis, asthma, eye allergy, and allergic reactions to bites & stings. For some severe people, an allergy steroid injection provides good relief from the disease symptoms. But corticosteroid injections also can cause a lot of adverse events that range from jitteriness to excess weight and trouble sleeping. Prolonged application of steroid injections in large dosages may lead to more severe adverse effects.
Time of action of a steroid shot for allergies
Corticosteroid injections are designed to gradually and slowly release a steroid dose into the body. The drug reduces inflammatory reactions throughout the body including the tissues of the nose, thus inhibiting the occurrence of allergic reactions.
Allergen immunotherapy decrease sensitivity to allergen agents. It may often lead to prolonged relief of allergy even after therapy is stopped. For some individuals, these drugs may become less efficient with time.
Side effects of the shots
Since the steroid drug affects not only the nose but also other systems and organs of the body, it can cause various adverse events. They can be short-term and long-term.
Short-term adverse effects include the following conditions:
- increased appetite;
- poor sleep;
- mood swings;
- short-term weight gain due to water retention;
- face redness.
Long-term adverse effects include:
- cardiovascular ailments;
- increased possibility of developing some infectious diseases;
- increased risk of diabetes mellitus & osteoporosis;
- Cushing syndrome (an ailment caused by an excess of cortisol hormone);
- high arterial pressure.
In addition, those who suffer from different chronic ailments may experience even more adverse effects from corticosteroid shots. Each disease may have different side effects, which may include:
- Diabetes – blood glucose levels increase;
- High arterial pressure – arterial pressure indicators may increase (as in the case of using anabolic steroids, such as Testosterone propionate);
- Glaucoma – eye pressure indicators may increase;
- Heart failure – water retaining, worsening symptoms of the disease.
So if you have any chronic ailment, tell your healthcare professional about this when discussing your therapy cycle to avoid possible side effects from corticosteroid shots.
The conclusion: there are much better and safer methods of treating allergies than injections of corticosteroids.
Steroid shots alternatives
An innovative alternative to steroid injections for the treatment of allergies is allergen-specific immunotherapy. A special feature of the action of sublingual allergen-specific immunotherapy is to reduce the sensitivity of the organism, the gradual adaptation of the immunity and the development of minimal or total insensitivity to the allergen.
Allergen-specific immunotherapy can be administered in two ways: by subcutaneous injection or sublingually (in the form of drops or tablets). Sublingual immunotherapy allows minimizing all the unpleasant sensations of the procedure, which plays a very important role not only for children but also for adults.
Regardless of the way of application, the therapy reduces the manifestation of allergic symptoms a few months after the beginning of the treatment. Duration and volume of this therapy are determined and developed individually for each patient by an allergist. After the termination of the course of therapy for several years, the immunity to the allergen and persistent remission of allergic symptoms are developed (the so-called long-term effect of immunotherapy).
Another option is the use of nasal corticosteroids (which was mentioned above). They don’t have a systemic effect. Also, they cause fewer side effects than injectable steroids.
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