Sacks et al. (2005) reported the case of a 72-year-old man, described as professionally successful, intelligent, and cultivated, with polymyalgia rheumatica, who after being treated with prednisone developed a psychosis and dementia , which several behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry consultants initially diagnosed as early dementia or Alzheimer's disease .  Large dosage variations in the patient's medication (including a self-increased dosage from 10 mg/day to as much as 100 mg/day for at least 3 months) produced extreme behavioral changes, from missed appointments to physical altercations, and eventually admission to a psychiatric ward and later to a locked Alzheimer facility. During this time, neuropsychological testing showed a decline in the patient's previously superior IQ as well as deficits in memory, language, fluency, and visuospatial function, which given the patient's age was considered to be compatible with early dementia. When the steroid treatment ended after a year, the patent's confusion and disorganized appearance stopped immediately. Within several weeks, testing showed strong improvement in almost all cognitive functions. His doctors were surprised at the improvement, since the results were inconsistent with a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's. Testing after 14 months showed a large jump in Full Scale IQ from 87 to 124, but mild dysfunction in executive function, memory, attentional control, and verbal/nonverbal memory remained. 
Corticosteroid myopathy presents as weakness and wasting of the proximal limb and girdle muscles and is generally reversible following cessation of therapy.
Corticosteroids inhibit intestinal calcium absorption and increase urinary calcium excretion leading to bone resorption and bone loss. Bone loss of 3% over one year has been demonstrated with prednisolone 10 mg per day. Postmenopausal females are particularly at risk for loss of bone density. Sixteen percent of elderly patients treated with corticosteroids for 5 years may experience vertebral compression fractures. One author reported measurable bone loss over two years in women on concomitant therapy with prednisolone mg per day and tamoxifen. [ Ref ]
Because of these side effects, doctors frequently choose safer medications, such as the 5-ASA drugs and antibiotics, as initial therapy. But there are a number of ways to reduce the risk of developing side effects. These include rapid but careful tapering off of steroids; alternate-day dosing; rectally applied corticosteroids; and rapidly metabolized corticosteroids such as budesonide (described above). To help prevent osteoporosis, many doctors routinely prescribe calcium supplements as well as multivitamins that contain vitamin D. Another option is the use of bisphosphonates, such as risedronate (Actonel®) and alendronate (Fosamax®). These compounds, which have been shown to help avert bone loss, are effective in treating and preventing steroid-induced osteoporosis.