What is prednisone?

Prednisone belongs to a class of drugs called corticosteroids, which are a type of steroids. Prednisone reduces inflammation and allergy symptoms. For example, prednisone is commonly used to treat the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis and allergic asthma.

How does prednisone affect my body?

Prednisone regulates various chemicals produced by your body that are involved in inflammatory swelling and allergies. It, thus, modifies the immune response of your body to various medical conditions. This helps minimize the associated symptoms such as rashes, swelling and allergic reactions.

How should I use this drug?

  • This medicine must be taken orally only as prescribed by your doctor.
  • You should take the drug with food and a full glass of water (8 ounces/240 milliliters), unless your doctor directs you otherwise.
  • You must swallow the whole tablet without crushing, chewing or breaking it.
  •  Do not stop taking this medicine without consulting your doctor.

What conditions does prednisone treat?

The most common FDA approved uses are the following:

What are the side effects of prednisone?

Side effects of prednisone depend on the dose and duration of treatment. 22 Side effects include:

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Who should not use prednisone (contraindications)?

People with certain health conditions should generally avoid using prednisone.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you have any medical history of: 

What will happen if I use prednisone for a long period?

Prednisone can have serious short-term and long-term side effects and must only be taken under a physician’s guidance. Long-term use of prednisone can make it difficult for your body to respond to physical stress. You need to tell your doctor that you are using or have used this medication over the past one year before having surgery or emergency treatment. 

Apart from making you more prone to infection, prednisone also masks the signs of infection. It may cause vaccines not to work as well. 

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects, especially bone loss/pain, stomach/intestinal bleeding, cataracts, and mental/mood changes. 

Prolonged use of prednisone in children may slow growth. If your child is taking this medication, visit the doctor regularly to check their height and growth.

Can I use prednisone if I am pregnant/breastfeeding?

Although prednisone will rarely harm the unborn baby, always consult your doctor regarding medications during pregnancy. Infants born to mothers who have been using this medication for an extended period may have hormone problems. 

Inform your doctor immediately if you notice symptoms such as persistent vomiting, severe diarrhea, or weakness in your newborn.

This medication passes into breast milk but is unlikely to harm the nursing infant. Nevertheless, you must consult your doctor if you are considering this medication while breastfeeding.

Summary

Prednisone belongs to a class of drugs called corticosteroids, which are a type of steroids. Prednisone reduces inflammation and allergy symptoms. For example, prednisone is commonly used to treat the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis and allergic asthma. Prednisone modifies the immune response of your body to various medical conditions to minimize inflammation, rashes, swelling and allergic reactions.

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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Medically Reviewed on 6/23/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference
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