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April 1981

Side Effects of Corticosteroid Therapy: Psychiatric Aspects

Author Affiliations

From the College of Pharmacy (Mr Ling and Dr Perry) and the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine (Dr Tsuang), the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1981;38(4):471-477. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1981.01780290105011

• We reviewed the literature to determine the characteristics of corticosteroid-induced mental disturbances. We conclude that (1) while dosage may be correlated to the risk of developing mental disturbances, neither dosage nor duration of treatment seems to affect the time of onset, duration, severity, or type of mental disturbances; (2) euphoria, depression, and psychotic reactions are the common manifestations of corticosteroidinduced mental disturbances; (3) females seem to be more prone to these disturbances than males; (4) patients with past mental illness are not necessarily predisposed to such disturbances; and (5) corticosteroid-induced mental disturbances are usually reversible on dose reduction or discontinuation of the drug. At present there are no simple models to explain the psychotic reactions, anxiety, or agitation seen in corticosteroidinduced mental disturbances.

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