Prescription steroids have an impact on brain anatomy.

White matter damage results from prolonged prescription steroid usage.

  • A class of drug used to treat a number of disorders, glucocorticoids, usually referred to as prescription steroids and is also recognized to have certain known possible negative effects.
  • Prescribed steroids induce structural and volume alterations in the brain’s white and grey matter, according to Leiden University Medical Center researchers.
  • Though further study is required, researchers think these findings may explain some of the psychological negative effects of prescription steroids.

A family of drugs called glucocorticoids commonly referred to as corticosteroids or simply steroids is used to treat a wide range of illnesses and disorders. They vary from anabolic steroids, which can be used to build more muscle.

It is alarming that prescription steroids can have negative neurological side effects, such as mood disorders and cognitive problems.

The use of prescription steroids may now be linked to structural and volume alterations in the brain’s white and grey matter, according to a group of researchers from Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

What exactly are prescribed steroids?

In order to reduce bodily inflammation, inhibit the immune system, or maintain hormone balance, doctors typically administer corticosteroids.

Although occasionally patients need to have steroid injections, they are often administered in pill or inhaler form. Topical corticosteroids are also available as creams and lotions.

Steroids may be recommended by a physician for the following ailments:

  • Lupus
  • Asthma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Multiple Sclerosis

A person’s chance of experiencing certain adverse effects, such as increased weight gain, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes,¬†and/or depression, rises when they use glucocorticoids for a lengthy period of time.

The relationship between steroids and the brain

Prior study Long-term exposure to glucocorticoids has been shown to have an impact on the structure and function of the brain in persons with Cushing’s disease, who have extremely high levels of the body’s natural glucocorticoid cortisol.

When compared to non-steroid users, persons who used systemic or inhaled prescription steroids showed less intact white matter structure in the brain. However, compared to users of inhaled steroids, this finding was more common in systemic steroid users.

White tissue deep in the brain is composed of bundles of nerve cells. It affects the brain’s signals and neural connections.

The researchers also discovered that those using systemic steroids had a bigger caudate. An area of the brain’s grey matter that is more active in complex tasks than that of non-users, such as planning and carrying out motions, learning, and remembering.

A smaller amygdala was seen in people using inhaled glucocorticoids compared to those who did not use prescription steroids. The grey matter of the brain includes the amygdala, which is connected to the processing and control of emotions.