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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 are the side effects of prednisone?
Side effects of prednisone depend on the dose and duration of treatment. 22 Side effects include:
- Increased appetite
- Weight gain
- Palpitations (a sensation the heart is pounding, beating too fast or skipping a beat)
- Bone pain
- Easy bruising/bleeding
- Menstrual period changes
- Mental/mood changes such as depression, mood swings, agitation
- Puffy face
- Slow wound healing
- Swelling in hands/ankles/feet
- Thinning skin
- Unusual weight gain
- Vision problems such as blurred vision
- Stomach/abdominal pain
- Black/tarry stools
- Vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- Raised blood sugar/worsening of diabetes.
- Serious allergic reaction, including rash, itching/swelling, dizziness, trouble breathing.
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:
- Untreated severe infections such as fungal infections, tuberculosis, herpes, chickenpox
- Known allergy to prednisone or other medicines
- Bone loss (osteoporosis)
- Eye problems
- Heart problems
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Mental/mood disorders
- Stomach/intestinal problems
- Thyroid problems
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.
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.
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