Prednisone is an approved corticosteroid drug widely prescribed to treat several medical conditions.
Generally, the drug has been beneficial in treating many autoimmune diseases and other serious illnesses.
Prednisone intake weakens an individual’s immune system and causes the blockage of inflammation-causing chemicals.
Thus, the drug helps lower chronic inflammation caused due to an individual’s immune response.
But, besides the beneficial role, prednisone usage comes with several warnings and side effects which will be briefly discussed in this article.
Doctors prescribe Prednisone to treat several chronic health conditions, which are as follows:
Asthma is a pulmonary health condition in which the immune system attacks after a non-harmful substance enters the respiratory tract, resulting in chronic inflammation and swelling of respiratory tubes and tightening respiratory smooth muscles.
Thus, such a condition makes it difficult to breathe for the patient. Here, prednisone consumption may help suppress inflammation and swelling for easy respiration.
People suffering from such deficiency fail to produce sufficient cortisol for their body resulting in increased stress and lack of tissue repair.
Here, Prednisone may potentially replace cortisol in the body and perform its functions.
During an organ transplant, a foreign organ is introduced into the body. In such cases, the human immune system recognizes the new organ as foreign and starts attacking it to cause damage.
Here, giving a prednisone dose to the patient would suppress such a reaction and avoid rejections.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a medical condition in which the immune system starts damaging the joint tissues resulting in severe inflammation.
Severe arthritis conditions may lead to stiffness, swelling, and pain in the affected joints.
Blood Cell Diseases
Prednisone could help treat some blood cell diseases like anemia, which is caused due to low RBC count.
In anemia, the immune system starts destroying the red blood cells resulting in their low count. Prednisone could lower anemia symptoms, including rapid heartbeat and fatigue.
In some cases, Prednisone could help get back the platelet count by suppressing the immune system’s negative response.
Some skin diseases cause the overproduction of inflammatory markers, resulting in symptoms like skin reddening, inflammation, peeling, etc.
Prednisone could help control the excessive inflammatory marker production and cure the condition.
It is a digestive disorder that is caused due to excess production of inflammatory cytokines in the digestive tract.
Such overproduction leads to inflammation in the small intestine and colon, resulting in diarrhea, stomach ache, etc.
Hence, consuming Prednisone would lower the cytokine protein concentration and inflammatory symptoms to improve such a condition.
Other Medical Conditions
Prednisone doses could be used to treat or lower symptoms of several other medical conditions, including Psoriasis, Lymphoma, Lupus, Tuberculosis, Ulcerative colitis, several allergies, etc.
Prednisone Side Effects
Common Side Effects
Generally, the side effects related to Prednisone are mild and temporary. Such side effects are observed in lower dosages and short-term consumption.
Depending on the severity, these side effects may last up to a few weeks. Some common side effects observed due to Prednisone consumption are as follows:
- Mood Swings
- Increased Blood Pressure And Blood Sugar Levels
- Sleeping Problems
- Weight Gain
Serious Side Effects
- Bone Loss
Prolonged consumption of Prednisone may cause excessive bone density loss. Such a condition makes an individual prone to fractures.
- Cardiovascular Problems
Prednisone may cause a mineral imbalance between phosphate, calcium, and potassium resulting in elevated blood pressure.
Sometimes high-dose Prednisone may cause the deposition of cholesterol in the arteries, as per this study.
- Gastrointestinal Problems
Patients may have severe gastrointestinal problems due to prednisone intake. The steroid drug may cause gastric ulcer formation, gastrointestinal bleeding, and gastritis in patients.
- Defective Vision
Blur vision is another common side effect observed due to excess prednisone consumption.
Moreover, consuming Prednisone more than 10 mg daily may increase the risk of developing cataracts.
- Cushing Syndrome
An increased dose of Prednisone may cause an increase in cortisol levels in the body.
Thus, such a higher concentration leads to the distribution of fatty tissues in different regions, including shoulder blades, face, etc.
Cushing syndrome in kids may lead to impaired or unusual growth.
- Muscle Weakness
In some cases, Prednisone may cause the weakening of the legs and arms muscles. The condition may require medical attention if the weakness persists.
- Adrenal Insufficiency
Adrenal insufficiency is a severe side effect primarily observed due to increased cortisol concentration in the body.
High cortisol levels stop the functioning of the adrenal gland resulting in adrenal atrophy and adrenal insufficiency.
Sometimes, such a condition leads to Addison’s disease, in which the patient experiences a sudden drop in blood pressure, blood sugar, and increased potassium levels.
The sudden change in different blood sugar, blood pressure, and potassium levels could be life-threatening in some cases.
- Mental Health
Prednisone may have a severe impact on an individual’s mental health. Generally, symptoms related to mental health are observed within a few days of starting therapy.
But, it may vary depending on the dose and longevity of consumption.
People consuming Prednisone in higher dosage may experience symptoms like anxiety, hypomania, etc., and depression in severe cases.
But, people consuming 20 mg of Prednisone daily may develop corticosteroid-induced psychosis.
Warnings Related to Prednisone Consumption
You should be aware of different warnings before consuming Prednisone. Some of these warnings are for healthy people, while some are specific to a few conditions.
- Weakens Immune System
Prednisone consumption may weaken your immune system, resulting in an increased risk of diseases and infections.
Hence, you should distance yourself from people with serious infectious diseases like chickenpox.
- Avoid Live Vaccines
Prednisone consumers must avoid taking live vaccines as the immune system may fail to adapt or handle the vaccine. Hence, such conditions may lead to severe infections.
- Allergic Reactions
Some people experience allergic reactions after consuming Prednisone oral tablets. These allergic reactions could be mild or severe, depending on the dosage.
Generally, people having allergies to prednisone tablets may experience skin rashes, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the tongue, lips, and face.
Hence, you should avoid consuming Prednisone if you encounter such conditions.
Warnings For Certain Health Conditions
- Heart Or Kidney Patients
Prednisone consumption could be harmful to patients with existing heart or kidney disease.
Generally, Prednisone may increase salt and water retention resulting in increased blood pressure, thus, increasing the risk of heart attack and strokes.
Moreover, salt retention may lower kidney function resulting in increased kidney problems.
- People With Eye Problems
People with eye diseases like herpes infection should avoid taking prednisone tablets.
- People Experiencing Mood Swings
Prednisone may seriously impact an individual’s mood, resulting in frequent mood swings.
Moreover, it may increase symptoms related to stress, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders.
- Diabetic Patient
Diabetic patients should avoid consuming Prednisone as it may increase blood sugar levels. But, you may consume the drug in a controlled dose after consulting a doctor.
Moreover, you should ask for a dose change if you experience changes in blood sugar levels.
- Pregnant Woman
Prednisone consumption is strictly prohibited for pregnant women unless some serious condition requires the drug.
It is believed that prednisone consumption by the mother may severely impact the growing fetus. Sometimes it may disrupt the baby’s growth and development.
- Aged Persons
Aging makes an individual’s vital organs, like kidneys, lungs, liver, etc., function slowly.
Prednisone consumed by an individual is processed in the liver and excreted through the kidney.
Hence, mild to high doses of Prednisone may seriously impact these vital organs.
Prednisone is a widely accepted medicine to treat 60 different medical conditions.
Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration has also approved the drug’s usage for medicinal purposes.
Hence, doctors could recommend Prednisone in the required dosage as applicable.
Generally, prednisone dosage is calculated based on certain factors, including age, medical condition, severity, reaction to the first dose, and other medical conditions.
Hence, the dose may vary among different medical conditions and situations. Prednisone is available in different forms, including tablets and oral solutions.
These forms are available in multiple dosages for various medical conditions.
- Tablets are available in 1mg, 2.5mg, 5mg, 10mg, 20mg, and 50mg doses.
- Oral solutions are available in 5mg/5ml doses.
Oral prednisone intensol are highly concentrated prednisone oral solutions available in 5mg/ml doses.
Generally, the prednisone dose for a medical condition may vary between 2.5mg/day to 1250mg/day.
But, the higher dose should not be continued for more than 3-5 days. The standard prednisone dose for an adult is between 5-60 mg.
On the other hand, the maximum prednisone dose for an adult may vary depending on the disease’s severity.
Prednisone is a crucial medicine in treating several severe medical conditions.
But, as the drug has several side effects and warnings, you should be careful while consuming Prednisone for any medical conditions.
Moreover, it would be best to consult a doctor for an appropriate dose based on the condition.
Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.
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Michael has been in the male wellness industry for 25+ years. Before joining Working For Health as a full-time male wellness journalist, he contributed to multiple online portals in the male wellness field. Before that, he has been an assistant to several sexologists.