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Corticosteroids Boost Risk of Clots

Blood clots deep in the veins are among the leading causes of death in the U.S. They are called deep vein thromboses or DVTs. When a blood clot breaks loose and lands in the lungs it is called a pulmonary embolism and can be a life-threatening event.

A large new study from Denmark shows that people who start taking oral corticosteroids such as prednisone triple their risk for such blood clots. Ongoing use doubles the risk.

New use of inhaled steroids for conditions such as asthma or COPD can also boost the chance of developing a deep vein clot and a resulting pulmonary embolism. (There is no information in this study on nasal steroids such as those used for allergies.) Although such drugs have utility, we continue to learn about potentially serious side effects of cortisone-like drugs.

[JAMA Internal Medicine, May 13, 2013]


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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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