Medications > Steroid | Cortisone | Injection > Steroid Injection – pictopamphlet
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How to use this medication
Steroids are natural hormones produced by your adrenal glands. Steroids can be injected into joints to help to relieve the pain and swelling from arthritis. Examples inlcude methylprednisolone (depomedrol), triamcinolone (kenalog or aristospan), and betamethasone (celestone).
Steroids can be injected directly into a joint or around a tendon. After the injection the medicine works to relieve the pain and swelling from arthritis.
The injection will usually take about 24 to 48 hours to work. If local freezing was given with the injection you might feel better a little bit quicker.
The length of improvement varies. Some patients can feel better for months while others find only a few days of relief.
If the first injection works well then you may benefit from another. As a general rule the number of injections is limited to 3 or 4 for a single joint per year.
What you need to do
If the injected area becomes very painful, red, or swollen call your doctor immediately. If your doctor is not available, seek medical attention right away. One of the very rare (1 in 15,000) risks of a steroid injection is infection.
Steroids can make it harder for you to fight infections. Call your doctor if you have a fever or think you have an infection.
If possible, it is best to rest the joint for 24 hours after the injection. This might make the injection work better and last longer.
Side effects & important things to know
A steroid injection can rarely cause injury to a joint or a tendon. Your doctor will discuss this risk.
After an injection some patients feel “flushed”. This usually isn’t serious but let your doctor know if this happens.
A steroid injection can sometimes cause a rise in blood sugars in patients who have diabetes. If you have diabetes make sure to test your blood sugars for a few days after the injection.
A steroid injection can rarely cause an area of the skin to lose pigment (turn white). This is more common in darker skinned people. Steroids can also cause loss of the fat layer just below the skin causing the skin to turn a purple color.
A steroid injection can sometimes make you feel full of energy. This can sometimes make it difficult to sleep.
When should I call my doctor
- If you feel unwell after the injection
- If you are concerned about any side effects