The “Steroid Dementia Syndrome”: An Unrecognized Complication of Glucocorticoid Treatment

Authors


Address for correspondence: Owen M. Wolkowitz, MD, UCSF School of Medicine, 401 Parnassus Ave., Box F-0984, San Francisco, CA 94143-0984, USA. Voice: 415-476-7433; fax: 415-502-2661. owenw@itsa.ucsf.edu

Abstract

Abstract: Glucocorticoid treatment is frequently associated with transiently impaired attention, concentration, and memory. In rare cases, cognitive changes may be prominent and may persist for substantial periods of time after steroid discontinuation. This largely unrecognized complication has been termed the “steroid dementia syndrome” and may reflect steroid neuroendangerment or neurotoxicity. Several clinical cases of this syndrome, with shared phenomenological and neuropsychological features, are presented here.

Ancillary