Cochrane review (2015) – included a total of 33 RCTs, accounting for 4268 hospitalised patients with sepsis. Three trials included children, and the remaining 30 trials included only adults. Corticosteroids were compared with placebo in all except five trials, in which they were compared with standard therapy alone. Low-quality evidence indicates that steroids reduce mortality among patients with sepsis. Moderate-quality evidence suggests that a long course of low-dose steroids reduced 28-day mortality without inducing major complications.
Side-effects from the use of steroids are extremely common and can be quite significant. Most side-effects are reversible once the athlete stops usage although serious long-term side-effects and even death have occurred as a direct result of steroid use.
• Decreased sperm production and sex drive
• Increased aggression, irritability and mood swings
• Liver disorders
• Baldness (alopecia)
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Raised cholesterol
• Gynecomastia (development of over-sized mammary glands in males)
• Menstrual irregularities (in women)
• Hirsuitism (excessive hair growth occurring in females which follows the pattern of male hair growth, . facial)
• Deepening of the voice
• Reduced immunity
• Possible development of tumors (wilm’s tumor, prostate carcinoma and leukemia have been reported, although a connection is not proven)