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What Are Steroids?

Corticosteroids (hereafter referred to as steroids) are synthetic drugs that are structurally similar to cortisol, a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland. These steroids are able to treat many inflammatory diseases and conditions by suppressing the immune system and decreasing inflammation. Steroids can be administered locally (as skin creams, by direct injection into joints, or around soft tissue areas) or systemically (by mouth, into a vein, or into a muscle). A key benefit of injecting steroids (vs. oral steroids) is the doctor can be sure that an adequate amount of the steroid will be delivered to the problem area. Though steroids are likely to decrease pain and increase function, they do not cure the underlying problem. There is potential for the following adverse side effects: infection, allergic reaction, local bleeding, tendon rupture, and skin discoloration. In addition, repeated steroid injections into the same body part can cause weakening of bone, ligaments, and tendons.

Toxicity of Steroids

Corticosteroids have been shown to be toxic to mesenchymal stem cells in the lab. Evidence indicates that exposure to corticosteroids (betamethasone, methylprednisolone, triamcinolone, and dexamethasone) decreased mesenchymal stem cell viability. Betamethasone was the most toxic, while dexamethasone was least toxic. Further studies are needed to determine if the toxic properties steroids apply to mesenchymal stem cells in live organisms. 1

Wrap up

In addition to a host of adverse side effects, steroids simply do not correct the underlying problem like stem cells can. There are no known side effects from umbilical derived stem cells. At RestoCell, we advocate for the use of ethical stem cell treatments to get our patients to less pain, more living.

  1. Wyles, Cody C., et al. “Differential Cytotoxicity of Corticosteroids on Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells.” Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®, vol. 473, no. 3, Apr. 2014, pp. 1155–1164., doi:10.1007/s11999-014-3925-y.


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