Glucocorticoids effectively alleviate inflammation in patients with acute or chronic arthritis. However, glucocorticoid therapy may cause adverse effects, including glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis, hypothalamic-adrenal-pituitary suppression, osteonecrosis, myopathy, infection, and cardiovascular or GI complications. Early recognition can minimize potential problems, although the approach to assessment varies with the adverse effect. Daily oral administration is the most common method of glucocorticoid use, and a single daily dose is preferred over split dosing. Prevention and treatment recommendations for the use of glucocorticoids in patients with rheumatoid arthritis include increased intake of calcium and vitamin D, bisphosphonates, weight-bearing exercises, and tapering of therapy to the lowest effective dose; these measures often apply as well to patients with other common rheumatic disorders.