Glucocorticoids (GCs) have been in use for more than 50 years. They are powerful and cost-effective drugs with strong anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects that are used to treat rheumatic and other diseases. Their therapeutic use has increased continuously in recent years (1,2). Furthermore, our understanding of the action of glucocorticoids has advanced in recent years, especially with regard to mechanisms of action, clinical usage, side-effect potential, and the development of new glucocorticoid drugs (2–5). GCs are the subject of this chapter as the terms corticosteroids or corticoids do not precisely designate these compounds. The adrenal cortex indeed synthesizes glucocorticoids, but also mineralocorticoids and androgens. The term steroids, although often used (e.g., in steroid-induced osteoporosis), is similarly incorrect because it simply describes chemical compounds characterized by a common multiple-ring structure which include cholesterol and sex hormones.
KeywordsRheumatoid Arthritis Glycyrrhetinic Acid Nongenomic Effect Previous Gestational Diabetes Mellitus Glucocorticoid Responsive Element
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