The term corticosteroids refers both natural hormones and the anti-inflammatory medicines: anti-inflammatories.
Corticosteroids (or corticoids) are hormones produced by the adrenal glands. Although there are two groups of corticosteroids (glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids), the term corticosteroid generally refers to the glucocorticoids (cortisone, cortisol).
Different synthetic corticosteroids are used in corticosteroid therapy in medicine due to their potent anti-inflammatory properties:
- the short acting corticosteroids (prednisone, prednisolone, methylprednisolone) which have an anti-inflammatory action of 4-5 (cortisol has a potency of 1);
- the intermediate acting corticosteroids (triamcinolone, paramethasone) have an anti-inflammatory potency of 5-10;
- and the long acting corticosteroids (betamethasone, dexamethasone, cortivazol) have an anti-inflammatory potency of 25-60.
Cortisol is a glucocorticoid. © Public domain