Can You Take Steroids And Antibiotics Together?

Antibiotics are typically prescribed to help treat any bacterial infection rather than a virus, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On the other hand, people with arthritis or asthma, for example, might take corticosteroids or steroids to alleviate some of their inflammation symptoms, according to MedlinePlus. These steroids are different from anabolic steroids that bodybuilders take to build muscle mass. Instead, corticosteroids are comparable to the hormones that respond to stress and inflammation in our body.

Even if you don't have a condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor might prescribe a steroid to help reduce inflammation in your body (via Health Central). As for a sinus infection, your doctor might prescribe both an antibiotic to treat the infection and a steroid to reduce your symptoms. However, is it safe to take both at the same time? For the most part, it's safe, but some combinations do have increased side effects. For example, a mixture of steroids, like dexamethasone, and a levofloxacin antibiotic combination can rupture tendons. Similarly, there is some risk of taking steroids, like prednisone, with quinolone antibiotics. Therefore, it's better to take prednisone with penicillin.

Understanding antibiotics and corticosteroids

Since antibiotics can only treat infections, avoid asking the doctor for an antibiotic if you have a virus, such as a cold or the flu (per the American Academy of Family Physicians). Sure, there are times the doctor might prescribe an antibiotic to avoid a possible infection. In that case, be sure to take the medication as directed to ensure that the bacteria has been killed. Not finishing the antibiotics gives the bacteria a chance to grow back stronger and more resistant to antibiotics because the bacteria can change. Therefore, it's best to consult the doctor to see if you even need antibiotics in the first place, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Luckily, several sinus infections and a handful of ear infections can be treated without antibiotics.

Steroids might help alleviate autoimmune diseases or symptoms of asthma, but they aren't meant to be taken for too long, as per MedlinePlus. In fact, long-term use of oral corticosteroids can cause cataracts, high blood sugar, bone fractures, and fatigue, among other symptoms (via Mayo Clinic). Keep in mind, because steroids suppress the immune system, they can increase your risk of bacterial infections.