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Steroid medicines are used in many treatments for cancer, sickle cell disease, and other illnesses. Doctors may prescribe these medicines to:
Steroid medicines can be very important to your child’s care. But steroid medicines do have side effects. These can include changes in your child’s behavior, emotions, and thoughts.
These changes can be seen in children of any age. Even infants and toddlers may show these symptoms, including sleep problems, irritability, and crying uncontrollably.
First, stay calm. Remind yourself that the changes you see are a temporary side effect of your child’s medicine.
Here are some ways to help your child cope:
For some children, there may be nothing that seems to help with these mood and behavior changes. We often call this inconsolability. If this is happening to your child:
Tell your child’s care team about any changes you notice in your child’s behavior, emotions, or thoughts. You also can ask for help from psychology or psychiatry services at your treatment center. If your child already saw someone from these areas, make sure your child’s doctor knows about the care your child has received.
Getting help from psychology or psychiatry services does not mean your child is mentally ill. It also does not mean they will always need mental health care. These services can help behavior, emotional, or thinking problems in specific ways.
Find more information on Psychology and Mental Health Services.
Be sure to let your care team know about any side effects your child has when taking medicines. Always read the medicine label and follow dosing instructions carefully. Do not start or stop any medicine without talking to your doctor.
Reviewed: December 2023