prednisone, Deltasone, Liquid Pred (cont.)

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DRUG INTERACTIONS: Prednisone may interact with estrogens and phenytoin (Dilantin). Estrogens may reduce the action of enzymes in the liver that break down (eliminate) the active form of prednisone, prednisolone. As a result, the levels of prednisolone in the body may increase and lead to more frequent side effects. Phenytoin increases the activity of enzymes in the liver that break down (eliminate) prednisone and thereby may reduce the effectiveness of prednisone. Thus, if phenytoin is being taken, an increased dose of prednisone may be required.

PREGNANCY: Corticosteroids cross the placenta into the fetus. Compared to other corticosteroids, however, prednisone is less likely to cross the placenta. Chronic use of corticosteroids during the first trimester of pregnancy may cause cleft palate.

NURSING MOTHERS: Corticosteroids are secreted in breast milk and can cause side effects in the nursing infant. Prednisone is less likely than other corticosteroids to be secreted in breast milk, but it may still pose a risk to the infant.

SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects of prednisone and other corticosteroids range from mild annoyances to serious, irreversible damage, and they occur more frequently with higher doses and more prolonged treatment. Side effects include retention of sodium (salt) and fluid, weight gain, high blood pressure, loss of potassium, headache and muscle weakness. Prednisone also causes puffiness of the face (moon face), growth of facial hair, thinning and easy bruising of the skin, impaired wound healing, glaucoma, cataracts, ulcers in the stomach and duodenum, worsening of diabetes, irregular menses, rounding of the upper back ("buffalo hump"), obesity, retardation of growth in children, convulsions, and psychiatric disturbances. The psychiatric disturbances include depression, euphoria, insomnia, mood swings, personality changes, and even psychotic behavior.

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