What is Prednisone?
Prednisone is classified as a corticosteroid which is an oral, man-made steroid that works to safeguard your body against the release of substances that can trigger inflammation. This drug is primarily used for anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressant purposes and has the capability to treat various illnesses such as psoriasis, skin conditions, arthritis, ulcerative colitis, allergic disorders, lupus, and breathing disorders. Prednisone gives similar effects that are obtained from other corticosteroids such as dexamethasone, triamcinolone, methylprednisolone, and prednisolone.
Prednisone is a white crystalline powder with high water solubility levels. The composition of prednisone depends on the dosage administered. A wide variety of inactive ingredients in this drug include 2.5 mg tablet that has Calcium Stearate, Lactose, Sorbic Acid, Corn Starch, Erythrosine Sodium, Sucrose, and Mineral Oil. The 5mg tablet consists of Calcium Stearate, Sorbic Acid, Corn Starch, Lactose and Mineral Oil, and Sucrose. The 10mg tablet – Calcium Stearate, Mineral Oil, Corn Starch, Lactose, Sucrose, and Sorbic Acid. The 20mg tablet – Calcium Stearate, Sorbic Acid, FD&C Yellow No.6, Lactose, Sucrose, and Corn Starch. The 50mg tablet – Sorbic Acid, Talc, Sucrose, Corn Starch, Magnesium Stearate and Lactose.
The man-made corticosteroids in prednisone play the same role as that of hydrocortisone which is a natural corticosteroid that is produced by the adrenal glands. Corticosteroids have numerous benefits to the body with the most important being anti-inflammatory properties. This is key especially for conditions that are closely associated with the immune system such as bronchitis, arthritis, asthma, and colitis. Prednisone is known to be inactive while in the body and therefore, requires to be converted into an active form – prednisolone by liver enzymes in order to become effective. Patients with liver disease may not benefit from prednisone as the liver may be incapable of producing the required enzymes needed to convert prednisone to prednisolone.
Prednisone is easily accessible from a pharmacy near you and before you buy, you should clearly know the indication and how the drug can be of benefit to you. Prednisone can be used for the management of inflammatory conditions that are closely linked to the immune system. Some of the most common diseases this drug can treat include; asthma, systemic lupus, severe psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative colitis, numerous types of arthritis and allergic reactions among others.
Other diseases that can be treated using prednisone include; lymphomas, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, bronchitis, leukemias, and autoimmune hemolytic anemia. Corticosteroids found in Prednisone also help with suppressing the immune system as well as help the body to cope up with transplanted organs. This medication is also used as a replacement therapy especially for patients whose adrenal glands cannot produce enough cortisol amounts.
Mode of Indication, Dosage, and Treatment Duration
After you purchase Prednisone, you need to take the medication in strict adherence to your doctor’s instructions. Direction on the prescription label should be strictly followed. In addition, you shouldn’t discontinue medication before finish your dose or take drugs longer than recommended. For the best results, always ensure to eat well whenever you are on Prednisone medication. Duration of treatment depends on the condition and dosage can at times change depending on your doctor’s advice. When you start developing other medical complications such as fever, infection or stress, your doctor may adjust your dosage amounts.
When consuming prednisone in liquid form, you should use a special measuring spoon or cup to get the precise amount of dosage you should take. In the case of oral tablets, they should be swallowed and not crushed, chewed or broken. During the course of medication, you may need to visit your doctor to undergo blood tests and have your blood pressure checked. Before tapering dose, make sure to inform your doctor as sudden withdrawal from Prednisone is not advised as it may not give your adrenal glands sufficient time to recover. For your safety, always have a medical alert tag on you to indicate you are on Prednisone medication; this will alert any medic that you’re on a steroid.
Prednisone (DELTASONE) tablets are available in 1mg, 2.5mg, 5mg, 10mg, 20mg and 50mg. You can also get Extended Release Tablets in 5mg, 2mg, and 1mg. Prednisone also comes as a syrup/oral solution of 5mg/5ml. The dosage administered depends on the condition to be treated and the patient’s age. Typically, a dose may begin with 5mg to 60mg daily and can be adjusted based on how a patient responds to treatment or the condition being treated. For the effects of corticosteroids to manifest, one has to be on medication for several days and in some cases, weeks or months for certain conditions to begin responding to treatment.
Prednisone Side Effects
Just like any other drug you purchase from a pharmacy, there are a couple of side effects associated with prednisone. Common side effects associated with this medication include:
- Increased appetite
- Weight gain
- Changes in mood
- Headache and dizziness
- Stomach pain, bloating, and nausea
- Wounds healing slowly
When you experience the following side effects when using prednisone, get immediate medical attention.
- Breathing difficulties
- Coughing blood
- Swollen face, lips, throat, and tongue
- Extreme depression or rapid mood swings
- Severe upper stomach pains and vomiting
- Blurred vision and eye pain
- Bloody stool
- Extremely high blood pressure
- Low potassium – uneven heart rate, leg discomfort, confusion, muscle weakness, and extreme thirst
Contra-Indication/Who Shouldn’t Use Prednisone?
It is not advisable to use prednisone if you are allergic to the drug or you suffer from a fungal infection that needs an oral antifungal medication. Before going on medication, it is important to share your medical history with your doctor. To ensure safe prednisone medication, let the doctor know if you have any of these conditions:
- Liver disease i.e. cirrhosis
- Diarrhea related illnesses
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Malaria history
- Thyroid disorder
- Low potassium levels in your blood
- Cataracts or glaucoma
- Muscle disorders
- Stomach ulcers or history of stomach complications such as bleeding or ulcerative colitis
- Mental illness or depression
Interaction with Other Drugs
Before commencing prednisone medication, have a list of medication you are currently on or have used recently and share it with your pharmacist or doctor. Some drugs that can interact with Prednisone include: mifepristone, aldesleukin, antiplatelet drugs i.e. clopidogrel, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and celecoxib as well as blood thinners such as warfarin or dabigatran. If you’re on low-dose aspirin for stroke prevention or heart attack, you can continue with your medication unless advised otherwise by a doctor.
Prednisone can also lead to misleading laboratory results for skin tests. Before attending any skin test laboratory session, let your doctor know you are on medication.