Steroids may be prescribed along with other drugs. However, some drugs interact with steroid tablets, so you should discuss any new medications with your doctor before starting them, and you should tell anyone else treating you that you're taking steroid tablets.
Don't take over-the-counter preparations or herbal remedies without discussing them first with your doctor, rheumatology nurse or pharmacist.
When taking steroid tablets you must carry a steroid card, which records your dosage and how long you've been taking them.
If you become ill, or are involved in an accident in which you're injured or become unconscious, it's important for the steroid to be continued, and sometimes increased, because the treatment may prevent your body from being able to produce enough natural steroids.
Your doctor, rheumatology nurse or pharmacist can give you a steroid card. Make sure whoever is prescribing your tablets records any changes in dosage.
Can I have vaccinations if I'm on steroid tablets?
If you're taking steroid tablets it's recommended you avoid live vaccines such as yellow fever. In certain situations however, a live vaccine may be necessary (for example rubella immunisation in women of childbearing age), in which case your doctor will discuss the possible risks and benefits of the vaccination with you.
If you're offered shingles vaccination (Zostavax) you should seek advice from your rheumatology team – you may be able to have the shingles vaccine if you’re on a low dose of steroids.
Pneumococcal vaccine (which gives protection against the most common cause of pneumonia) and yearly flu vaccines don't interact with steroid tablets and it's important that you have these.