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Steroid medications and diabetes

Some people with diabetes may need to take steroid medications to help manage other conditions, such as asthma, arthritis and dermatitis.


Steroid medications reduce pain and inflammation, and they can also be used to prevent nausea during medical procedures (such as chemotherapy).

Your body produces steroid hormones (also called corticosteroids) to help it fight stress, injury and disease. Steroid medications have a similar effect to the hormones produced by the body.

There are many different types of steroid medications including cortisone, prednisolone, hydrocortisone and prednisone.

Steroid medications can be taken in various ways, including:

  • orally (as tablets or liquid)
  • with an inhaler
  • by injection (into a joint or muscle)
  • as drops for eyes or ears
  • as a cream applied to the skin.

If you are taking steroid medication, talk to your doctor about how this may affect your blood glucose levels.

Learn about 'Steroid medications and diabetes':

  • How do steroid medications affect blood glucose levels?
  • What you need to know when starting steroid therapy

Access this information sheet:

Download the PDF, or
Request the information sheet be sent out to you.


The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) is an initiative of the Australian Government administered with the assistance of Diabetes Australia.