Corticosteroids have been used as drug treatment for some time. Lewis Sarett of Merck & Co. was the first to synthesize cortisone, using a complicated 36-step process that started with deoxycholic acid, which was extracted from ox bile .  The low efficiency of converting deoxycholic acid into cortisone led to a cost of US $200 per gram. Russell Marker , at Syntex , discovered a much cheaper and more convenient starting material, diosgenin from wild Mexican yams . His conversion of diosgenin into progesterone by a four-step process now known as Marker degradation was an important step in mass production of all steroidal hormones, including cortisone and chemicals used in hormonal contraception .  In 1952, . Peterson and . Murray of Upjohn developed a process that used Rhizopus mold to oxidize progesterone into a compound that was readily converted to cortisone.  The ability to cheaply synthesize large quantities of cortisone from the diosgenin in yams resulted in a rapid drop in price to US $6 per gram, falling to $ per gram by 1980. Percy Julian's research also aided progress in the field.  The exact nature of cortisone's anti-inflammatory action remained a mystery for years after, however, until the leukocyte adhesion cascade and the role of phospholipase A2 in the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes was fully understood in the early 1980s.
Glucocorticoide erfüllen wichtige Aufgaben im Glucose-, Lipid- und Proteinstoffwechsel. Ein Mangel kann zu einer glucocorticoidinduzierten Osteoporose führen. Aus diesem Grund ist bei der Einnahme auf einen vermehrte Zufuhr mit Vitamin D , Vitamin C und K, sowie Magnesium und Zink zu achten. Vor allem der Bedarf an Vitamin D und C, wird durch die Gabe von Glucocorticoiden stark erhöht. Omega-3- Fettsäuren hingegen können den Bedarf an Glucocorticoiden senken. Dies sollte grundsätzlich in Verbindung mit einer speziell abgestimmten Ernährung erfolgen.
The NIAMS gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the following individuals in the preparation and review of previous versions of this publication: Gayle Lester, ., Joan McGowan, ., James Panagis, ., Susana Serrate-Sztein, ., and Bernadette Tyree, ., NIAMS/NIH; Kenneth D. Brandt, ., Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN; Victor M. Goldberg, ., University Hospitals of Cleveland, OH; Marc C. Hochberg, ., ., University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD; John Klippel, ., Arthritis Foundation, Atlanta, GA; and Roland Moskowitz, ., Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. Special thanks also go to the patients who reviewed this publication and provided valuable input.