In patients receiving glucocorticoids for inflammatory diseases, adverse events are very common, even at low to medium doses, according to a report in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. The overall adverse event rate averaged 150 per 100 patient-years. In studies that focused only on patients with inflammatory bowel disease, the adverse event rate was 555 per 100 patient-years.
Adverse events in RA patients consisted primarily of psychological and behavioral disturbances, followed by dermatological and cardiovascular effects. PMR was primarily associated with gastrointestinal, endocrine and metabolic, cardiovascular and infectious events. IBD patients most often reported gastrointestinal and neurological events. "The risk-benefit ratio of glucocorticoids is an important issue for future studies and could help to create new targets for drug development" such as selective glucocorticoid receptor agonists, the authors conclude.