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Glucocorticoids, naturally occurring and synthetic, are adrenocortical steroids that are readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Glucocorticoids cause varied metabolic effects. In addition, they modify the body's immune responses to diverse stimuli. Naturally occurring glucocorticoids (hydrocorti-sone and cortisone), which also have sodium-retaining properties, are used as replacement therapy in adrenocortical deficiency states. Their synthetic analogs including dexamethasone are primarily used for their anti-inflammatory effects in disorders of many organ systems.
At equipotent anti-inflammatory doses, dexamethasone almost completely lacks the sodium-retaining property of hydrocortisone and closely related derivatives of hydrocortisone.
Last reviewed on RxList: 7/30/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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