Of 565 eligible randomized participants (median age, 34 years), 288 received dexamethasone and 277 placebo. The researchers found that at 24 hours, participants receiving dexamethasone were not more likely than those receiving placebo to have complete symptom resolution. Results were similar among those who were not offered an antibiotic prescription and those who were offered a delayed antibiotic prescription. At 48 hours, more participants receiving dexamethasone than placebo (35 percent versus 27 percent) had complete symptom resolution, which was also observed in patients not offered delayed antibiotics. There were no significant differences in other outcomes such as days missed from work or school and adverse events.
"Steroid" is the name given to a chemical compound with a specific structure. In everyday speech, the term steroid is applied to several medications that share this structure; however, these medications have very different uses. Anabolic steroids are a class of drug that mimic the effects of male sex hormones called androgens which stimulate muscle growth and secondary male sex characteristics. They are often abused by bodybuilders and other athletes to build muscle mass and so should be used with caution. When prescribed, oral steroids should be taken as directed. If you come across extra pills that haven't been taken, and are unsure if they are steroids, you can identify the pill based on its physical appearance, information on the bottle, or by consulting a professional.