Home Health And Fitness Prednisone: Composition, Uses, Side Effects, Dosage And Withdrawal Symptoms

Prednisone: Composition, Uses, Side Effects, Dosage And Withdrawal Symptoms

26 min read


What Is Prednisone?

Prednisone is a synthetic corticoid drug (often termed as a steroid in the day to day language), more specifically a glucocorticoid used an immunosuppressant. In other words, it prevents the release of substances that cause inflammation,  thereby making it an effective medicine for treating a variety of conditions such as allergic disorder, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis or breathing problems. Prednisone was discovered in the year 1950 by Arthur Nobile. It is a not-so-expensive prescription medicine, commonly available under the brand name, Rayos. In this article, we’ll discuss the uses of prednisone, the composition of prednisone, prednisone 20mg, 5mg, side effects and dosage. We’ll also talk about prednisone for dogs.

Uses Of Prednisone:

Prednisone is primarily used as an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant drug. Besides, is also used for the treatment of allergies, skin diseases, eye problems, conditions such as blood disorder, arthritis, and even cancer. As it suppresses the overactive immune system, it is helpful in asthma, rheumatic diseases, psoriasis, and pneumonia. It is also helpful in dealing with increased calcium in case of sarcoidosis.

Furthermore, Prednisone is used to prevent heart transplant rejection, liver transplant rejection, and kidney transplant rejection. It is also used in case of inflammation of the heart, the inflammation of arteries and inflammation of the covering of the heart. It helps in the treatment of nodose. Additionally, Prednisone is helpful in immune suppression therapy during heart transplantation. 

How To Take Prednisone?

Generally, prednisone is taken in the form of a tablet. One should avoid taking prednisone on an empty stomach, as far as possible. It can lead to an upset stomach and at times other digestion problems. It should be consumed with food or milk. Typically, a tablet of prednisone is taken with a full glass of water (8 ounces/ 240 milliliters).

If you’re taking Prednisone in the liquid form, ensure that the dosage is accurate. Use a special measuring device or spoon for the purpose. The use of household spoons can render inaccurate measurement.

Prednisone 20mg:

Prednisone 20mg, also known as Apo-prednisone is used as an anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic drug and is used to treat a vast range of inflammatory and allergic problems. As the name suggests, Prednisone 20 mg contains 20 mg of the active ingredient of synthetic glucocorticoid. It functions to suppress the overactive immune system. Prednisone 20mg is also used as an anti-cancer drug in combination with other medications. It is known to remain in action approximately from 18 to 36 hours.

Even though 20mg is not that large a dose yet, side effects are seen. The most common side effects caused due to this much amount of Prednisone are weight gain, body ache, demineralization of the bones, delayed healing of the bones, acne. It also makes your body more prone to infections. At times, it may cause long-term side effects like the altered growth of hair in different parts of the body, blood pressure issues or thinning of the blood. It may also cause diabetes. The doctor’s advice and instructions should be followed, and doses should be taken correctly.

Prednisone 5mg:

Prednisone 5mg is taken to treat skin diseases, breathing issues and blood-related disorders in our body. Eye problems and other immune system disorders can also be treated with Prednisone 5mg. The function of Prednisone 5 mg is to make the immune system dormant. By virtue of this action, it helps in reducing the swelling associated with various allergic reactions in the body. The medication should be taken with milk or food after following all the instructions of a qualified doctor.

Prednisone 5mg causes short-term side effects like acne, insomnia, increased sweating, decrease in appetite, feeling of nausea, dizziness or vomiting. Though in sporadic cases, long-term side effects of this medicine are also found. Long-term side effects like irregular heartbeat, swelling of various body parts and weakness may occur. At times, the body becomes more prone to infections. If such conditions occur or persist, immediately contact a doctor.

Prednisone Dosage:

The amount of this drug to be given varies depending on the severity of the disease, weight of the person and the type of disorder.

  1. Adult Dosage For The Nephrotic Condition:

 One must not take than 80Mg of the medicine in one day. The amount is determined by the formula 2mg/kg/day. The dosage to be given in one day is divided into parts. It is given in 3 or 4 parts and given as per the formula initially until no protein is found in the urine of the person. After that, the dosage is reduced to 1.5mg/kg/day for a period of 4 weeks on every other day.

  1. Anti-inflammatory For Adults:

It can be taken for 1 to 4 times in a day. The dosage may differ from 5mg to 60mg.

  1. Paediatric Dosage ForNephrotic Conditions:

The initial dosage of 2mg/kg/day is given 3 to 4 times a day until the urine does not show any presence of protein for three consecutive days. Then the dosage is reduced to 1mg/kg/day to 1.5 mg/kg/day.

  1. Asthma Pediatric Dosage:

The dosage depends on the age of the child.

  1. Less than one year: – In severe conditions, 10mg is given orally every 12 hours. As a maintenance dose, 10 mg is given orally every other day.
  2. Between 1 to 4 years: – In severe situations, 20mg of Prednisone is given orally to the patient at an interval of 12 hours. After that, a maintenance dose of 20mg is given every other day.
  3. Between the age of 5 to 12 years: – For the children of this range of age, 30mg is to be given orally every 12 hours in case of severe conditions. As a maintenance dose, 30mg is given orally every other day.
  4. More than 12 years of age: – In severe conditions, 40 mg of Prednisone is given at an interval of 12 hours.
  5. Paediatric dosage as an Anti-inflammatory: – 0.05 mg to 2mg is administered for per Kg of the body in a day. It is given for 1 to 4 times in a day.
  6. Paediatric dosage for Immunosuppression: – 0.5mg/kg/day to 2mg/kg/day is to be administered.

When you’re taking prednisone, you should make sure that all the instructions of the doctor are being followed. If the medication is not supposed to be taken daily, it is better to set a reminder so that a dosage is not missed. Also, it is better to take the dose before 9 a.m., if only one dose for a day is allotted.

In case you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. And if it is almost time for the next dose, it is better to leave the former dose. Never take two doses of the prednisone at one time. It can lead to overdosage. The medicine should never be left in between.  One must make sure to complete the entire dosage. Also, prednisone medicine should never be discontinued without a prior consultation with a doctor.

There are cases where side effects of the medication occur while taking the drug. You may experience symptoms like weakness, weight loss, nausea, headache, dizziness or other issues. In such cases, always consult a doctor. The doctor may reduce the dosage gradually to help the patient’s body cope up with such side effects. At times the dosage may be changed by the doctor, depending on the severity of the condition. The delayed release tablets should never be broken, chewed or crushed. It is supposed to be taken as a whole.

Side Effects Of Prednisone:

Immediate medical help should be taken in case of an allergic reaction which may occur as a result of intake of Prednisone.  The symptoms indicative of a side effect is swelling of the face, tongue, lips or throat.

Other side effects of Prednisone are:

1)    Blurred vision, pain in the eyes or seeing concentric circles around an illuminated object.

2)    Breathlessness, swelling or rapid weight gain may occur.

3)    Severe depression, polarity in moods or convulsions can also take place.

4)    Blood may be found in the stool or phlegm.

5)    Pancreatitis.

6)    High blood pressure.

7)    One may suffer from problems related to urination.

There are some other side effects that are found too: –

1)    Problems related to the skin such as acne, increased sweating or dry skin is found.

2)    The wounds take a longer time to heal.

3)    Nausea, fatigue or spinning head is also common.

4)    Accumulation of fat in different parts of the body might occur.

Some other serious side effects can also occur: –

1)    Hiccups

2)    Puffiness

3)    Growth of facial hair

4)    Glaucoma

5)    Cataract

6)    Ulcers in different part of the digestive system

7)    Worsening of diabetes

8)    Menstrual cycle problems

9)    Anaphylaxis

10)    Heart attack

11)    Low blood pressure

12)    Anaemia

13)    Amnesia

14)     Osteoporosis

Note: Children are also susceptible to these side effects.

Short-Term Side Effects Of Prednisone:

The short-term side effects occur while taking the medication or a little after the discontinuation. With some passage of time they disappear. The most common of them are psychiatric issues like depression, depressive symptoms or anxiety. Prednisone also gives rise to high blood pressure. It can also cause a sudden weight gain and fluid retention. It may cause fat to be accumulated in the body.

Long Term Side Effects Of Prednisone:

The long-term side effects are the ones which are very severe and may be present for a long period. Some of the common long-term side effects of prednisone are: –

1)    Cushing’s syndrome

2)    Steroid dementia syndrome

3)     Truncal weight gain

4)    Osteoporosis

5)    Glaucoma

6)    Cataract

7)    Cessation

8)    It can also cause stretch marks to appear in various parts of the body.

Prednisone Withdrawal Symptoms:

There are cases where people suffer from prednisone withdrawal symptoms like severe fatigue, weakness, insomnia, headache, body pain or other similar symptoms if the drug is discontinued after a period of two weeks or more. This condition is known as prednisone withdrawal. It occurs because the body gets dependant on prednisone to provide cortisol and also because prednisone suppresses the immune system. The drug should never be discontinued at once after taking it for a period. This triggers withdrawal the most. Prednisone should be stopped slowly over a period to avoid such issues. The withdrawal symptoms do not prove that the medicine, Prednisone is addictive. It simply occurs because the body needs some time to revert back to its normal functioning. Since Prednisone provides synthetic cortisol to our body, our body stops producing cortisol of its own. It is also known to suppress the immune system so for a while our body is more prone to infections. Owing to such nature of the drug, this withdrawal occurs.

These withdrawal symptoms of prednisone depend on the following factors: –

1)    It depends upon how long has one person been taking the drug. The longer the person takes the drug, the higher is the time needed by the body to cope up with it.

2)    The dosage varies depending on the severity of the conditions. The time taken to cope up is directly proportional to the dosage.

3)    Ever person’s body and immunity are different from the others and so the time taken to cope up is different for different people depending upon their immunity.

The various symptoms of the Prednisone withdrawal are: 

1)    Problems related to the stomach and digestive system (cases of stomach ache and lack of appetite are the most common ones)

2)    Psychological problems (depression, mood swings and even suicidal thoughts)

3)    Blood pressure fluctuations

4)    Pain in various parts of the body (headache, body pain and joint pain can occur)

5)    Muscle soreness

6)    Weakness, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting can also occur.

Prednisone For Dogs:

Prednisone is also used to treat health conditions such as Addison’s disease, inflammation, arthritis, allergies and some autoimmune diseases in dogs. The drug prednisone is converted into prednisolone in the dog’s liver. If a dog suffers from some liver problem, doctors prescribe prednisolone. Prednisone is not entirely safe for cats and dogs. In most cases, no side effects are seen, but at times adverse effects are noted. The problems can worsen if the medication is discontinued.

Side Effect Of Prednisone In Dogs

  1. a) Short-term side effects as these may occur:

1)    The dog may pant more than usual.

2)    The dog may feel more thirsty.

3)    The appetite of the dog may increase.

4)    The dog may urinate more than usual.

  1. b) Long Term Side Effects Of Prednisone In Dogs:

1)    Cushing’s disease

2)    The dog may become more prone to infection.

3)    Prednisone can thwart the growth of the pets.

4)    They may get diarrhea.

5)    They may suffer from ulcers in their digestive tract.

6)    They may vomit a lot.

Precautions While Taking Prednisone:

The following precautions must be kept in mind before taking Prednisone:

1)    Make sure to tell the doctor/pharmacist if you have an allergy to the drug.

2)    One must tell the doctor about their entire medical history and the medical issues of the present day including liver problems, kidney disease, thyroid disorder, diabetes, malaria, tuberculosis, osteoporosis, or depression.

3)    Prednisone should be taken during pregnancy only when no other option is available. A doctor must be consulted. It may cause a low birth weight or deformation in the baby.

4)    It can pass through breast milk and harm a nursing baby, affecting its growth. Hence, breastfeeding mothers must avoid Prednisone.

5)    As it is an immunosuppressant, one should avoid being near sick people as due to decreased immunity they may catch the disease more easily. In health conditions like measles or chicken pox, it can be fatal too.

6)    One must not take prednisone in case of fungal infection.

7)    It may not let vaccines to work.

8)    It can lead to stomach bleeding if alcoholic beverages are consumed during the medication phase. Alcoholic beverages should be avoided during the medication phrases.

9)    In case of overdosage, emergency medical help must be taken. In very rare cases it has been proven to be fatal.

Drugs Interfering With Prednisone: –

Some medicines can react with Prednisone and lead to adverse results. Some of them are listed below: –

1)    St. John’s Wort

2)    Amphotericin B

3)    Cyclosporine

4)    Digoxin

5)    Anti-fungal medication

6)    Birth control pills

7)    Blood-thinning medication

8)    Hepatitis C medication

9)    HIV or AIDS medication

10)    Insulin or diabetes medication

11)    Seizure medication

12)    Tuberculosis medication

We hope our article helps you understand Prednisone better. And we even hope we were able to address your questions regarding Prednisone. In case, there still is any doubt, make sure to reach out to us by leaving your questions is the comments section below. We will be happy to help you with any of your queries.

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