Prednisone FAQ

Prednisone is a type of drug called a corticosteroid. It is very similar to what the human adrenal glands make.Body-made steroids may reduce inflammation and regulate salt intake. When the body is stressed, such as during an illness, the body produces more steroids. That’s why they are sometimes called “stress hormones.”

Prednisone is used to treat many different types of inflammation, from skin rashes to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Prednisone may be given for a short period of time, such as a few days to longer. Some people taking prednisone for chronic illnesses have difficulty stopping the drug because symptoms recur every time the dose is lowered. This is called steroid dependence, and most healthcare providers agree that it is not the best form of treatment. In most cases, getting the condition under control and stopping prednisone as soon as possible is the ultimate goal.

What are the side effects of prednisone?

Potentially troublesome side effects of prednisone include increased appetite, weight gain, acne, mood changes, and trouble sleeping.

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More serious side effects of prednisone include cataracts, glaucoma, osteoporosis, and hip bone damage These side effects are permanent and only appear after long-term use. If you are concerned about these side effects, you should discuss these risks with your doctor.

How to take prednisone?

Prednisone should be taken exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. The doctor will adjust the dose according to each patient’s needs. In order for prednisone to have the desired effect on the body, it must be taken regularly. Do not stop taking prednisone suddenly without consulting your healthcare provider.

Prednisone is a drug that must be tapered over several days, and in some cases, over weeks or months. The length of time it takes to stop prednisone will depend on how long it was initially taken: if it is only taken for a few days or weeks, tapering may not be necessary.

To prevent stomach upset that sometimes occurs with prednisone, it can be taken with a meal or snack.

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Why prescribe prednisone?

Prednisone is used to treat a variety of conditions, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), Rheumatoid Arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.

What will you do if you miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you should take your next dose of prednisone as soon as possible, take that dose. Do not double, or take more than one dose at a time.

Who Should Not Take Prednisone?

Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had any of the following:

  • Tuberculosis (active or inactive)
  • herpes infection of the eyes, lips, or genitals
  • severe depression
  • hypertension
  • currently pregnant

What drugs can prednisone interact with?

Prednisone may interact with the following drugs:

  • Anticoagulants
  • Barbiturates
  • Cholestyramine (Questran)
  • Chronic high-dose aspirin
  • Ephedrine (found in cold medicine)
  • Ketoconazole
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin
  • Rifampicin
  • tralanomycin

Is prednisone safe during pregnancy?

The FDA has classified prednisone as a Type C drug. This means it is not known how pregnancy will affect the unborn baby. Notify the prescribing healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking prednisone. Prednisone does pass into breast milk and may affect a nursing baby.

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How long is prednisone safe to take?

In most cases, it is recommended to gradually reduce the dose of prednisone as soon as symptoms subside.