A patient with severe rheumatoid arthritis is prescribed methylprednisolone to control inflammation. The nurse is creating a teaching plan to include common side effects of long-term corticosteroid use. Which of the following should be included?


•Corticosteroids have a number of negative effects on the body's ability to heal and repair.

•Corticosteroid use can cause skin atrophy and thinning, poor wound healing, muscle atrophy, obesity, hyperglycemia or even diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, peptic ulcer disease, hypertension (not hypotension), and cataracts.

•Corticosteroids can also cause adrenal insufficiency, Cushing syndrome, and hypokalemia. If used long term corticosteroids should not be stopped abruptly, but slowly tapered down. This prevents complications from suppression of the pituitary-adrenal axis.

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