Corticosteroids may cause hypernatremia, hypokalemia, fluid retention, and elevation in blood pressure. These mineralocorticoid effects are most significant with fludrocortisone, followed by hydrocortisone and cortisone, then by prednisone and prednisolone. The remaining corticosteroids, betamethasone, dexamethasone, methylprednisolone, and triamcinolone, have little mineralocorticoid activities. However, large doses of any corticosteroid can demonstrate these effects, particularly if given for longer than brief periods. Therapy with corticosteroids should be administered cautiously in patients with preexisting fluid retention, hypertension, congestive heart failure, and/or renal dysfunction. Dietary sodium restriction and potassium supplementation may be advisable.
Physiological effects of glucocorticoids include the inhibition of protein synthesis and the increase in catabolic processes in muscles. Consequently, a long-term intake of steroids in high doses causes myopathy. Myopathic effects of glucocorticoids are observed during systemic as well as inhallatory use. Most frequently, steroid myopathy manifests as the weakness and hypotrophy of lower limbs muscles, weakness of respiratory muscles, dysphonia. Prevention and treatment of steroid myopathy include limitation of indications for long-term usage of glucocorticoids, alternating regimens of treatment, adequate physical activity. The current data demonstrate the efficacy of vitamin D and amino acids mixtures in the prevention and treatment of steroid myopathy.