Alterations of glucocorticoid actions by other drugs and disease states

W Jubiz, A W Meikle


Glucocorticoids are used in physiological and pharmacological amounts in the management of a variety of clinical conditions. Concomitant utilisation of other drugs or the presence of some diseases may affect the physiological action of the steroid in the tissues. Phenytoin, phenobarbitone, ephedrine and rifampicin accelerate the metabolism of glucocorticoids thereby decreasing their biological activity. A similar phenomenon occurs in patients with hyperthyroidism. In contrast, glucocorticoid action is enhanced in hypothyroid patients and in those with hepatic damage as the result of a defect in the clearance of the hormone from blood. In turn, glucocorticoids antagonise the effects of cholinesterase inhibitors and ganglion blocking agents. The above mentioned effects should be kept in mind whenever glucocorticoids are utilised in the diagnosis and management of endocrine or non-endocrine conditions.


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