What is prednisone used for?
Prednisone is a corticosteroid, a man-made form of the steroids that the body naturally produces to fight illnesses and injuries. It acts as a replacement for people with low levels of cortisol, one of the natural steroid hormones. The drug also can also actually reduce swelling and redness. Some people with HIV who develop a particular type of pneumonia may also take prednisone along with antibiotics.
Doctors prescribe prednisone alone or in combination with other medications to treat a variety of conditions, including:
Certain forms of arthritis
Some types of cancer
Severe allergic reactions
Stomach and intestinal problems
Prednisone weight gain
There are indications that limited usage of prednisone should not cause weight gain. However, there is a high probability of weight gain with long-term usage. If you are on long-term therapy, you may have weight gain.
Prednisone is similar to cortisol, a hormone naturally made by your adrenal glands. If you take prednisone for more than a few weeks, your adrenal glands decrease cortisol production. A gradual reduction in prednisone dosage gives your adrenal glands time to resume their normal function.
If you abruptly stop taking prednisone or taper off too quickly, you might experience prednisone withdrawal symptoms:
Prednisone for Dogs
Prednisone may be given to dogs to control pain and to swell from conditions such as arthritis.
Because it suppresses the immune system, prednisone may also be used in dogs to manage immune-system conditions such as allergies, asthma, lupus, and other disorders.
Side effects of prednisone use in dogs include infections, dry skin or oily skin, and liver or kidney damage.
Long-term use of prednisone or other corticosteroids is not recommended for dogs.
Prednisone Side Effects
Common side effects of prednisone include:
Severe mood swings
Thin, fragile skin
Red or purple blotches or lines under the skin
Slowed healing of cuts and bruises
Increased body hair growth
Changes in the way fat is distributed in the body
Irregular or absent menstrual periods
Low sex drive
Possible side effects can also occur. If you have any of these side effects, stop taking prednisone and call your doctor right away:
Eye pain, redness, or tearing
Signs of infection, such as a sore throat, fever, chills, and cough
Loss of contact with reality
Muscle twitching or tightening
Involuntary hand shaking
Numbness, burning or tingling in the face, arms, legs, feet, or hands
Upset stomach or vomiting
Sudden weight gain
Shortness of breath, particularly at night
Dry, hacking cough
Swelling or pain in the stomach
Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, throat, arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
Trouble breathing or swallowing
Prednisone is available as a liquid, a concentrated liquid, and tablets of varying strengths.
Prednisone 20mg contain the corticosteroid prednisone, which is a potent anti-inflammatory used to treat a broad range of inflammatory, allergic and immune disorders, including, rheumatoid arthritis; severe asthma, eczema and allergies and systemic lupus erythematosus.
The initial dose of prednisone 10mg daily in divided doses, as a single daily dose at 8.00am or as a double dose on alternate days.
These include 1, 2.5, 5, 10, 20 and 50 milligrams (mg), but 5 mg daily is the usual physiologic dose for adults, meaning that amount of prednisone should restore normal function.
Your doctor will monitor you closely during treatment to ensure you are taking the lowest dose that is still effective.
You usually take prednisone with food one to four times daily or once every other day.
It is likely your doctor will instruct you to take your medicine at particular times each day. Stick to this schedule carefully.
If you take the concentrated liquid form of prednisone, you can mix the solution with juice or another drink or with a soft food like applesauce.
If a corticosteroid overdose is severe enough, it can be dangerous and cause heart rhythm problems.
Symptoms of a corticosteroid overdose may include:
Burning or itching skin
High blood pressure
Missed menstrual cycle
Swelling in lower legs, ankles, or feet
Worsening of health conditions such as ulcers or diabetes
If you or someone else has symptoms of an overdose, call a poison control center
Missed Dose of Prednisone
Don’t stop taking prednisone without talking to your doctor, even if you feel well.
If you abruptly stop taking the drug, your body may not have enough natural steroids to function properly.
This can lead to troubling symptoms, like fatigue, weakness, an upset stomach, weight loss, and mouth sores.
When you start taking prednisone, ask your doctor what you should do if you miss a dose.
However, don’t take twice as much prednisone to make up for a missed dose.