Discuss pharmocotherapeutics: Corticosteroids
The adrenal cortex, triggered by the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) produced by the pituitary gland, produces 3 types of steroids from cholesterol: Glucocorticoids (such as cortisol and hydrocortisone), mineralocorticoids (aldosterone), and androgens (testosterone). Glucocorticoids, especially cortisol, have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect, inhibiting cell mediated immune response, and have been synthesized into a number of corticosteroids, which are steroids that resemble cortisol. Replacement therapy for Addison's disease, however is usually done with natural hydrocortisone and cortisone. Synthetic corticosteroids are used to treat many disorders, including arthritis, lupus erythematous, inflammatory Bowel Disease asthma and cancer, but they have severe side effects, such as increased fatty deposits and weight gain, osteoporosis, sodium retention, adrenal suppression, diabetes mellitus, depression, mood swings, gastric ulcers, acne, thinning of skin, and impaired healing, so use must be carefully monitored.