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Common prescription steroid disrupts brain function, new study finds

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – According to a new study, a common prescription steroid used to treat multiple conditions may disrupt brain function.  

The powerful drugs are called glucocorticoids. They are used to fight inflammation caused by autoimmune diseases and asthma. 

Scientists in the U.K. looked at 779 brain scans of people who used glucocorticoids and compared them to over 24,000 non-users. They collected data to assess participants’ mood.  

Findings showed patients taking the meds were less capable of processing information and their emotions compared to people not taking the meds. The group also reported being more depressed, restless, and lethargic. 

“While it remains unclear whether the observed effect sizes have clinical consequences for the population of glucocorticoid users as a whole, these findings are remarkable given the common neuropsychiatric side effects of synthetic glucocorticoids,” study authors wrote in the paper.