Steroid Related Drugs

Apr 01, 2020

Steroid Related Drugs

While being popular among professional and non-professional athletes, and constantly associated with prominent muscles and strength, steroids are much more than that. People who never needed medical treatment with steroids are quick to assume that the person who takes them do this solely for having great looks. However, synthetic steroids are irreplaceable drugs for various conditions. Even when they don’t have the power to cure an illness and remove the underlying cause, they can still relieve the pain, reduce inflammation, or help other types of medicine do their job and be more efficient in eliminating the source of the condition.

Two Types of Steroids

There are two main types of steroids. One we are all familiar with- anabolic steroids- which are often presented like the “eat me” cookies from Alice in Wonderland. Its effects of growing muscles, reshaping the body and enhancing the strength are so quick that it almost seems like magic. This is one of the reason why anti-doping agencies are constantly on the lookout for athletes using them. Even though we want to believe that all our favorite sportsmen are just that good, that strong and that talented, sometimes the trick is the magic substance called anabolics. Apart from increasing the muscle mass and stamina, anabolics are also used in medical purposes to speed up the body changes for the male adolescents facing delayed puberty.

The other type of steroids is widely used in medicine. It comes in all shapes and forms- pills, tablets, injections, nasal spray, ear and eye drops and skin creams and ointment. They are commonly called corticosteroids, and they can also be divided into two types. The first type is mineralocorticoids which can keep under control the levels of water and salt in our organism. The other type is glucocorticoids whose main role is to reduce and suppress the inflammation in various parts of the body. As simple as this sounds, this is quite an important feature of steroids which makes life easier for many. This is why it is used for treating various types of diseases, for example: lupus, gout, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, allergies, some autoimmune diseases, breast cancer and skin problems.

Steroid Related Drugs

Being so efficient in enhancing muscle and bone mass for people who need it, suppressing inflammation to restore proper functioning of the body, even supporting other medicines in curing very serious illnesses, it is no wonder that so many medicines nowadays are steroid related. We will now cover just some of them, but bear in mind that there are many steroid-based drugs in circulation.

Anastrozole

It is frequently sold under the brand name Arimidex. Anastrozole belongs to the group of medicines called nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors. This medicine is used in addition to other medicines, radiation, chemotherapy or surgery in treating certain types of breast cancer. There are various scenarios in which this medicine can be prescribed. The most common use case is the treatment of early stages of breast cancer in women who already went through menopause. However, it can also considerably contribute to treating the breast cancer which has already started spreading to other parts of the body. Additionally, it can improve the conditions for women who badly responded to Tamoxifen (Nolvadex), the therapy which is also used for metastatic hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. This anti-cancer hormone therapy comes in the form of pills taken once a day around the same time. The medicine works in a way that it lowers the estrogen level which body normally produces. This effect limits the spread of cancer cells as they need estrogen to grow. This is a prescription drug, and it is of paramount importance to follow the doctor’s order when taking it. The medicine can be used for a longer period of time, sometimes years, in order to keep the cancer under control. Also, this drug can be prescribed to women who are not diagnosed with breast cancer, but are at a considerably higher risk of having it in the future. Common side effects from this treatment are hot flashes, joint pain, stomach issues, mood swings, depression, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, cough, osteoporosis, Peripheral edema. However, a person might not experience any of these. In many cases the side effects disappear once the treatment is over.

Exemestane

This is another medicine used for slowing down, stopping or even reversing the growth of breast cancer by limiting the supply of estrogen in the organism. The medicine is frequently used as a treatment for women who have experienced menopause, and it is not recommended for young women planning to have children. It has positive effects in treating breast cancer which no longer responds to any other treatment such as radiation and surgery. On top of that, this drug can be used for preventing the cancer from reoccurring.

The medicine which has similar effects to this one is Letrozole. It is often used for treating hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. It is taken by mouth, but the research showed that it can be also absorbed through lungs and even skin. This is why pregnant women are advised not to handle the administration of this medicine.

Salbutamol

This steroid related drug is used for treating Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. It is in the group of medicines called adrenergic bronchodilators. It is usually in the form of an inhaler or puffer, but it can be also used in the form of tablets and syrup if a person cannot use the inhaler. In more severe cases of COPD it can be administered using nebulizer which turns the medicine into a mist which can be easily inhaled with a mask. The main feature of this medicine is that it can relax and loosen the muscles of the bronchial tubes to the lungs, thus enabling the breathing process. Therefore, Salbutamol cannot cure asthma, but it can treat the effects it has on our organism efficiently and the patients can maintain a good quality of life. Some of its brand names are Ventolin, Proventil, Proair Respiclick, Easyhaler and Airomir. The medicine can be used by children and adults and has very few side effects. Some of them are headache, muscle pain and faster heart rate.

Clenbuterol

The medicine belongs to the class of drugs called beta2-agonists. This type is causing the airways muscles to relax which enables normal breathing. Based on its features, this drug resembles anabolic steroids, because it has the ability to enhance muscle mass. The medicine is widely used for treating asthma in horses. In some countries it is also used for treating asthma and COPD in humans. Prescribing it to people is forbidden in the US. Apart from treating an illness, some farmers use it as a food supplement for livestock in general. The substance effects lead to cattle losing fat and having greater muscle mass. It came under the spotlight because many weight-lifters and body-builders started using it for enhancing their performance. This steroid-like drug increases the levels of epinephrine and noradrenaline. This in turn causes more effective fat burning, greater confidence and stamina. In addition to training enhancement, the drug became a secret trick of many celebrities who took it in order to lose weight. This medicine allowed for getting slim without losing muscles. The studies showed that nowadays it is more frequently used for training and weight losing than for any other medical purposes.

Clomiphene Citrate

This medicament is used for treating irregular menstrual cycles and infertility in women. It improves the level of hormones which are in charge of releasing the mature eggs, or ovulation. Natural ovulation is provoked by the pituitary gland which releases follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), commonly known as gonadotropins. FHS sends the signals for the eggs to be produced, while LH releases the mature eggs. The drug can increase the number of eggs which are produced and released. This is why it is frequently used in the ovulation-Inducing fertility therapy. Clomiphene Citrate causes FSH to rise in female organism leading to a greater chance of getting pregnant. The medicine is taken orally, and shouldn’t be used for a prolonged period of time.

Mesterolone

This steroid-like drug is probably better known under its brand name- Proviron. It is designed solely for the male patients suffering from hypogonadism or delayed puberty. The medicine belongs to the group of anabolic steroids and helps treating conditions caused by low testosterone level. Apart from delayed puberty, it can be also used for treating infertility in men. Additionally, it incentivizes masculine features to appear, such as growth of body hair, deepening the voice, development of male genitalia, increased muscle and bone mass. Due to its abilities to improve the muscle creation and the distribution of fat, it started being widely used among athletes.

Triiodothyronine (T-3)

Triiodothyronine is a thyroid hormone which is naturally activated in our organism by thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) released from the pituitary gland. It has many important roles and some of them are: controlling the functions of the heart and digestive system, enhancing our metabolic rate and muscle mass, improving bones quality, and regulating brain functions. As it is very important hormone, a synthetic version of T-3 is created for hormone replacement therapy. It is most commonly found in the medicines called Cytomel and Triostat. It is used for treating Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid. This is the condition in which the production of thyroid hormone is lower than the average. Additionally, it is sometimes used for treating the conditions such as goiter, which is an abnormally enlarged thyroid gland, or as an additional therapy for treating thyroid cancer.

Summary

Steroids are very important for all of us whether we want to cure certain condition or maintain the healthy state of our organism. Currently, there is a lot of stigma surrounding them as synthetic types of anabolic steroids are frequently used by athletes for doping. However, this should never lead us to believe that they don’t have a wide variety of use cases in the medical field. Both corticosteroids, as well as anabolics, accomplished a lot of success in treating certain conditions or improving the quality of patients’ lives. It is no wonder then that so many steroid related drugs exist nowadays. They are used as medicines for many illnesses, form asthma to breast cancer. Additionally, they offered alternatives and solutions when doctors hit a dead end with other therapies. Thus, we will most likely see even more steroid related drugs on the market in the future.

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