Dietary Guidelines for use of Corticosteroids (Decadron, Solu-Cortef, Solu-Medrol, Prednisone)
Why is this medication prescribed?
Corticosteroids are similar to a natural hormone produced by the adrenal glands. A corticosteroid may be prescribed for you to reduce inflammation (swelling, heat, redness, and pain). While on this medication, your doctor should monitor your blood sugar, blood pressure and weight. You should also be prescribed medication to protect (coat) your stomach.
Use of corticosteroids can lead to hyperglycemia (an increase in the level of blood sugar). Some signs of hyperglycemia are:
- You feel drowsy
- You feel very tired or lack energy
- You have a dry mouth and feel extremely thirsty
- You need to urinate often
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and they persist, tell your doctor.
For personalized recommendations, ask to meet with a dietitian.
Possible side-effects of Corticosteroids
Recommended changes in your diet to reduce these side effects
You may have an increase in your blood sugar
|Eat less of the foods that are high in concentrated sweets.
||Foods that are high in concentrated sweets:
Sugar, maple syrup, icing, carbonated drinks, candies, pastries, cakes, cookies, jams, jellies, gum, sherbet, ice cream, popsicles
|You may have swelling and an increase in blood pressure due to fluid and salt retention
||Eat less of the foods that are high in salt (sodium).
Do not add salt at the table.
|Foods that are high in salt (sodium):
Processed meats (ham, bacon, smoked meat); flavoured salts and seasonings with sodium; salted crackers, nuts, chips and pretzels; salted fish; pickles; concentrated chicken and beef broth (Bovril, Oxo); soya sauce; Worcestershire sauce; canned soups and sauces
|You may have a loss of potassium in your blood
||Eat more of the foods that are high in potassium
||Foods that are high in potassium:
Dried fruit in limited amounts, bananas, avocado, oranges and other fresh fruits; potatoes, spinach, artichokes, beet greens, broccoli, brussel sprouts; sardines, scallops and trout; wheat germ, whole grained breads and cereals; cocoa and chocolate (70% cocoa and over)
|Your bones may become weak due to a reduction in your body’s ability to absorb calcium (Osteoporosis)
||Eat more of the foods that are high in calcium.
||Foods that are high in calcium:
Milk, cheese, yogurt; sardines with bones; legumes, nuts and seeds; dark, leafy vegetables like bok choy, collard greens and broccoli; enriched soya drink
|You may have a loss of protein from your muscle tissue
||Eat more of the foods that are high in protein.
||Foods that are high in protein:
Meat, fish, seafood and poultry; cheese and eggs; legumes; tofu
|You may have an increase in your blood cholesterol and triglycerides
You may be hungrier than normal and gain weight
|Lower the fat and cholesterol in your diet. Try to lower your calories.
- Avoid fried foods. Instead, you should bake, grill or poach.
- Trim the fat off meat before cooking.
- Choose leaner cuts of meat.
- Eat red meat only three times a week. Eat more fish or poultry.
- Choose 1 % or skim milk instead of 3.5%
- Choose low fat cheese (15% or less m.f.) and yogurt (l% or less m.f.)
- Avoid butter, cream and rich sauces.
Lacong A., Ruel D. & Tessier V. (2000). Drugs-nutrients : An interaction guide.
Powers D. & Moore A. (2000). Food-Medication Interactions, 11th Ed.
Zeman F.J, (1991). Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, 2nd Ed.
Information about InfoNEURO
Neuro-Patient Resource Centre
Montreal Neurological Hosptial Room 354
Tel: (514) 398‑5358
Web site: http://infoneuro.mcgill.ca/
This information is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace the advice of a professional healthcare practitioner, or to substitute for medical care.
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Prepared by: Carmela Maloney, Reviewed by the dietitians from the Diabetic Task Force ©2004.
Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital
McGill University Health Centre