Acne is often present. Acne conglobata is a particularly severe form of acne that can develop during steroid abuse or even after the drug has been discontinued. Infections are a common side effect of steroid abuse because of needle sharing and unsanitary techniques used when injecting the drugs into the skin. These are similar risks to IV drug abusers with increased potential to acquire blood-borne infections such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS . Skin abscesses may occur at injection sites and may spread to other organs of the body. Endocarditis or an infection of the heart valves is not uncommon.
Short courses of systemic corticosteroids may provide important benefits in patients with exacerbations of COPD. A recent clinical trial 32 involving 271 patients in Veterans Affairs hospitals showed that steroid therapy resulted in moderate improvement of clinical outcomes, with shorter hospital stays and increases in FEV 1 . The fact that there were no significant differences between patients treated for two weeks and those treated for eight weeks justifies the use of a shorter course of corticosteroids to reduce the occurrence of adverse effects. Adverse effects can include hyperglycemia, secondary infection and behavioral changes. 33