I know I read somewhere that the steroids for MS relapses are not the same type of steroids associated with the ones athletes take (that illegal kind) - is that correct? What is the difference between the two types of steroids?
The term steroid simply refers to chemical molecules that share a common chemical ring stricture. There are many steroids that are important in biology. The steroids used in MS are corticosteroids and reduce inflammation. The steroids used by athletes are anabolic steroids and are similar to the hormone testosterone (leading to increased muscle mass). While they are both steroids, they have nothing to do with each other based on biologic activity.
Benjamin M. Greenberg, MD, MHS
Director, Transverse Myelitis and Neuromyelitis Optica Program
Director, Pediatric Demyelinating Disease Program
Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics
Department of Pediatrics
Cain-Denius Scholar of Mobility Disorders
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center