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Patient Information Leaflets (PILs)

These Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) are specially written by the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD).

Please note:

  1. There are thousands of different skin complaints, therefore, the focus of the British Association of Dermatologists' PILs production is on the most common, rarest or debilitating skin conditions.
  2. The offer to provide details of source materials used to inform the British Association of Dermatologists' PILs is for instances where the advice provided in the PILs does not reflect local practice and therefore evidence supporting said advice needs to be produced. It is not an offer to conduct literature searches or supply bibilographic materials for your own research.

For the latest BAD advice on Covid-19 for patients, please check the News and Media section of the website. Find this here. Our information for healthcare professionals is here.

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Oral treatment with corticosteroids

Oral treatment with corticosteroids is also known as ‘oral cortisone therapy’ or ‘systemic steroid therapy’. The word ‘oral’ means that the steroids are taken by mouth, usually in tablet or liquid form.

Corticosteroids (also known as steroids) are chemicals (hormones) that occur naturally in the body. They have numerous roles in the body which include decreasing inflammation and suppressing the body's immune system. Corticosteroid medicines are man-made but are similar to these natural hormones. Corticosteroids are produced in the cortex (outer layer) of the adrenal glands (hence the ‘cortico-’ part of the name).

The corticosteroids used most often in medical treatment, prednisolone and dexamethasone, are not exactly the same as the ones produced in the body. It is convenient to refer to them just as ‘corticosteroids’ or 'steroids', but you should be aware that they are different from the type of steroids (anabolic steroids) used for body building.        

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