Leila Cruikshank

Prednisone

Why is this medication prescribed?
Prednisone is a medication that belongs to the class of medications called corticosteroids. It is similar to a hormone produced naturally by the body called cortisol, which plays a role in the body's response to stress. 

Prednisone is also used in individuals who have had a transplant to prevent the immune system from rejecting the transplanted organ.

How does this medication work?
Prednisone works by decreasing inflammation in your airways and lungs.

What is the usual dose?
Prednisone has variable dosing and your doctor will decide what the appropriate dosage is. It is usually given by mouth once daily but can be given twice daily.

How should this medication be taken?
Because this medication may cause stomach upset it is best taken with food or milk. Alcoholic beverages may increase stomach burning or upset.

If prednisone is prescribed once daily it is best taken first things in the morning with breakfast. If prescribed twice daily then it is best taken with breakfast and dinner.

What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you forget to take a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next scheduled dose. Do not double the dose.

What should I expect from this medication?
Some side effects may occur or you may not experience any. Let your doctor know if the side effects are severe or if they persist for more than 2 days. Possible side effects include:

- signs of infection such as cough, fever, sore throat and mouth ulcers
- continuing or excessive heartburn or stomach upset
- bone or joint pain
- muscle cramps or weakness
- increased thirst or urination
- eye pain or blurred vision
- mood changes
- slow wound healing
- cosmetic effects such as round/puffing of the face, weight gain, hair growth and acne

Precautions
This drug may increase your blood sugars. Diabetic individuals should check their blood sugars regularly and report any unusual levels to their doctor.

Do not stop using this medication without first checking with your doctor, as the dose is sometimes tapered before stopping the drug completely. Your body will need time to adjust to the declining levels of drug in your system. The length of time taken to taper the drug depends on the dose you were on and how long you have been on it.