Millions of prescriptions for short term steroid use are written every year to people hoping to ease the misery of everything from back pain to allergies. Now comes a report from researchers at the University of Michigan suggesting that such short term use is not without risks. A U of Michigan news release reports that people taking the pills were found to be more likely to break a bone, have a potentially dangerous blood clot or suffer a life-threatening bout of sepsis in the months after their treatment, compared with similar adults who didn’t use corticosteroids. The study used data from 1.5 million non-elderly American adults with private insurance. One in 5 of them filled a short-term prescription for oral corticosteroids such as prednisone sometime in the three-year study period. While the rates of the serious events were highest in the first 30 days after a prescription, they stayed elevated even three months later. The researchers found higher rates of sepsis, venous thromboembolism (VTE) and fractures among short-term steroid users. When they compared short-term steroid users with non-steroid users, looking for the three serious issues in the 5 to 90 days after either the clinic visit closest to when the steroid prescription was filled, they saw that 0.05 percent of those who got steroids were admitted to a hospital with a primary diagnosis of sepsis, compared with 0.02 percent of non-steroid users. For clots, it was 0.14 percent compared with 0.09 percent, and for fracture, it was 0.51 percent compared with 0.39 percent.