Prednisone, an oral corticosteroid, is an anti inflammatory medication often prescribed in a high dosage. It is also used to treat the symptoms of low cortisol levels, as a form of replacement therapy.
Prednisone mimics cortisol, one of your corticosteroids hormones produced by your adrenal glands.
When it is used to treat an underlying disease, the amount prescribed is significant higher than your body’s natural cortisol output. Some conditions you may be prescribed prednisone to treat include:
- some cancers
- asthma attacks
- multiple sclerosis
- severe allergic reactions
- juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
And some conditions affecting your:
Prednisone may be given as an anti inflammatory to help your body reduce swelling and redness. In some cases it is given to change the workings of your immune system.
Unfortunately prednisone can cause some very serious side effects. Thus, diligently following your doctor’s instructions and keeping them informed of any unusual symptoms is extremely important.
Contact your doctor if any of these symptoms seem severe or do not subside:
- bulging eyes
- weak muscles
- thin, fragile skin
- extreme tiredness
- increased sweating
- personality changes
- hair growth increase
- inappropriately happy
- extreme mood swings
- decreased sexual desire
- cuts, bruises heal slowly
- body fat distribution change
- irregular, absent menstruation
- red, purple skin blotches, lines
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your prescribing health care professional immediately:
- upset stomach
- vision problems
- irregular heartbeat
- dry, hacking cough
- sudden weight gain
- stomach pain, swelling
- eye pain, redness, tearing
- loss of contact with reality
- muscle twitching, tightening
- breathing, swallowing difficulties
- uncontrolled hand tremors, shaking
- shortness of breath ~ night especially
- sore throat, fever, chills, cough, other signs of infection
- numbness, burning, tingling in face, arms, legs, feet, hands
- eyes, face, lips, tongue, throat, arms, hands, feet, ankles, lower legs swelling, edema
Your taking prednisone may resolve your current health issue, but its long term use can lead to some others, such as:
- anxiety, depression
- high blood pressure
- cataracts, glaucoma
- adrenal gland insufficiency
Prednisone may also cause a health condition to get worse, i.e. diabetes. It has the potential to slow growth and development in children.
You should not suddenly stop taking prednisone because of its withdrawal effects as a result of your body’s adaptive deficiency in cortisol production. Its usage needs to be withdrawn (tapered off) slowly to allow for your adrenals to resume their normal functioning levels.
Withdrawal symptoms of prednisone include:
A complete recovery of your normal adrenal gland performance after taking steroids can take a week to several months.
While on prednisone, you may be instructed to follow a special diet that is:
- low in salt
- high in calcium
- high in potassium
Calcium and potassium supplements to your diet may be recommended to ensure ingestion of additional requirements.
It is crucial to a healthy outcome that you follow any and all instructions given specifically.