When steroids have been taken for longer than one month, they must not be abruptly stopped. The dose needs to be gradually reduced to allow the adrenal glands sufficient time to regain their normal function. Full recovery of the adrenal function may take as long as 9 months after steroid therapy has been stopped. Patients on prolonged steroid therapy (or within 9 months of stopping prolonged steroids) who are under severe stress, such as surgery or severe infections, should have their dosage temporarily increased. The dosage of steroids should not be increased without directions from a physician.
A severe attack of asthma that is not getting better with other treatments is dangerous. A short course of oral steroids for severe asthma can often keep you from being rushed to the Emergency Department of the hospital for treatment of your asthma, can prevent the need for hospitalization, and—in an extreme case—can save your life. Many asthmatic patients have said that when you need them, oral steroids "work like a miracle." If needed to treat severe asthma, oral steroids should not be avoided; they should be taken promptly. Their risk comes only with overuse or prolonged continuous use; and long-term oral steroid use is not necessary for the vast majority of persons with asthma because other effective treatment strategies are readily available