Infection Risk and Safety of Corticosteroid Use

Jameel Youssef, Shannon A. Novosad, Kevin L. Winthrop

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

237 Scopus citations


Corticosteroids are frequently used to treat rheumatic diseases. Their use comes with several well-established risks, including osteoporosis, avascular necrosis, glaucoma, and diabetes. The risk of infection is of utmost concern and is well documented, although randomized controlled3/25/2016 3:35:37 PM trials of short-term and lower-dose steroids have generally shown little or no increased risk. Observational studies from the real world, however, have consistently shown dose-dependent increases in risk for serious infections as well as certain opportunistic infections. In patients who begin chronic steroid therapy, vaccination and screening strategies should be used in an attempt to mitigate this risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-176
Number of pages20
JournalRheumatic Disease Clinics of North America
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Bacterial infections
  • Corticosteroids
  • Opportunistic infections
  • Rheumatic diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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