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    The primary purpose of corticosteroids is replacement of naturally occurring hormones when the adrenal glands do not make enough of the natural hormones. Known as Addison's disease, this deficit is marked by low blood pressure, weight loss, loss of appetite, weakness, and a bronze-like hyperpigmentation of the skin. Addison's disease requires both glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid treatment.

    Because the glucocorticoids inhibit some portions of the immune response, they are used in treatment of a large number of diseases. The following list includes some of the established uses of systemic corticosteroids.

    • acute, severe allergic reactions
    • arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and gouty arthritis
    • adrenocortical insufficiency
    • allergic conjunctivitis
    • allergic rhinitis
    • anemia
    • acquired hemolytic and congenital hypoplastic
    • ankylosing spondylitis
    • asthma
    • beryliosis
    • bursitis
    • corneal ulcers
    • Crohn's disease
    • dermatitis (atopic, contact, exfoliative, and seborrheic)
    • dermatomyositis
    • erythema multiforme
    • erythroblastopenia
    • herpes zoster of the eye
    • hypercalcemia secondary to cancer
    • hypersensitivity reactions
    • idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
    • leukemia
    • lupus erythematosis
    • lymphoma
    • multiple myeloma
    • multiple sclerosis, acute exacerbations
    • mycosis fungoides
    • optic neuritis
    • pemphigus
    • pneumonitis (aspiration)
    • rheumatic carditis
    • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
    • thrombocytopenia
    • trichinosis with nerve or heart involvement
    • tuberculosis, disseminated and fulminating
    • tuberculous meningitis
    • ulcerative colitis

    Dexamethasone, a related corticosteroid, is widely used to prevent the nausea and vomiting associated with cancer therapy.

    Glucocorticoid treatment is not a cure for any disease or condition, but it may be used as supportive therapy in addition to other treatments.

    Source: The Gale Group. Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.";

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