Question 24

Describe the pharmacology of corticosteroid drugs.

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College Answer

This question was very broad, requiring the discussion of corticosteroid pharmacology. This 
embraces the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pharmaceutics of the drug class. 
Synthesis from cholesterol and hepatic metabolism was included in better answers. Comparison 
of mineralocorticoids versus glucocorticoids was expected. The mechanism of action through 
binding to intracellular receptors to affect protein synthesis should have been described. 
Additional marks were awarded for description of indications, preparations and routes of 
administration. In any pharmacology question, a list of common adverse effects is important. Of 
particular relevance is the suppression of the adrenal axis with prolonged administration.