Prednisone is used to treat conditions such as arthritis, blood disorders, breathing problems, severe allergies, skin diseases, cancer, eye problems, and immune system disorders. Prednisone belongs to a class of drugs known as corticosteroids. It decreases your immune system's response to various diseases to reduce symptoms such as swelling and allergic-type reactions.
This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
Prednisone may also be used for COVID-19, but is only effective in hospitalized patients who need supplemental oxygen or a mechanical ventilator to breathe.
How To Use
Take this medication by mouth, with food or milk to prevent stomach upset, as directed by your doctor. Take the tablet form of this medication with a full glass of water (8 ounces/240 milliliters) unless your doctor directs you otherwise. If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. If you are prescribed only one dose per day, take it in the morning before 9 A.M.
Take this medication exactly as directed by your doctor. Follow the dosing schedule carefully. The dosage and length of treatment are based on your medical condition and response to treatment. If you are taking this medication on a different schedule than a daily one (such as every other day), it may help to mark your calendar with a reminder.
Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Also, you may experience symptoms such as weakness, weight loss, nausea, muscle pain, headache, tiredness, dizziness. To prevent these symptoms while you are stopping treatment with this drug, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details. Report any new or worsening symptoms right away.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, heartburn, trouble sleeping, increased sweating, or acne may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur:
- muscle pain/cramps
- irregular heartbeat
- swelling hands/ankles/feet
- unusual weight gain
- signs of infection (such as fever, persistent sore throat)
- vision problems (such as blurred vision)
- symptoms of stomach/intestinal bleeding (such as stomach/abdominal pain, black/tarry stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds)
- mental/mood changes (such as depression, mood swings, agitation)
- slow wound healing
- thinning skin
- bone pain
- menstrual period changes
- puffy face
- easy bruising/bleeding
This medication may rarely make your blood sugar rise, which can cause or worsen diabetes. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of high blood sugar such as increased thirst/urination. If you already have diabetes, check your blood sugar regularly as directed and share the results with your doctor. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.
A very serious allergic reaction to this product is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
- itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
- severe dizziness
- trouble breathing
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before taking prednisone, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
- current/past infections (such as fungal infections, tuberculosis, herpes)
- heart problems (such as heart failure, recent heart attack)
- high blood pressure
- thyroid problems
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- stomach/intestinal problems (such as ulcer, diverticulitis)
- bone loss (osteoporosis)
- mental/mood disorders (such as psychosis, anxiety, depression)
- eye diseases (such as cataracts, glaucoma)
- mineral imbalance (such as low level of potassium/calcium in the blood)
- blood clots
- bleeding problems
Using corticosteroid medications for a long time can make it more difficult for your body to respond to physical stress. Before having surgery or emergency treatment, or if you get a serious illness/injury, tell your doctor or dentist that you are using this medication or have used this medication within the past 12 months. Tell your doctor right away if you develop unusual/extreme tiredness or weight loss. If you will be using this medication for a long time, carry a warning card or medical ID bracelet that identifies your use of this medication.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
This medication may mask signs of infection. It can make you more likely to get infections or may worsen any current infections. Avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, measles, flu). Consult your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.
The liquid form of this medication may contain sugar and/or alcohol. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, liver disease, or any other condition that requires you to limit/avoid these substances in your diet. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using this product safely.
Tell your health care professional that you are using prednisone before having any immunizations/vaccinations. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).
This medicine may cause stomach bleeding. Daily use of alcohol while using this medicine may increase your risk for stomach bleeding. Limit alcoholic beverages. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially bone loss/pain, stomach/intestinal bleeding, and mental/mood changes (such as confusion).
This medication may slow down a child's growth if used for a long time. Consult the doctor or pharmacist for more details. See the doctor regularly so your child's height and growth can be checked.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may rarely harm an unborn baby. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Infants born to mothers who have been using this medication for an extended period of time may have hormone problems. Tell your doctor right away if you notice symptoms such as persistent nausea/vomiting, severe diarrhea, or weakness in your newborn.
This medication passes into breast milk but is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include:
- drugs that can cause bleeding/bruising (including antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel, "blood thinners" such as dabigatran/warfarin, NSAIDs such as aspirin/celecoxib/ibuprofen)
If your doctor has directed you to take low-dose aspirin for heart attack or stroke prevention (usually 81-162 milligrams a day), you should continue taking it unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including skin tests), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Alberta residents can call PADIS (Poison and Drug Information Service) 24 hours a day at 1-800-332-1414. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
If this medication is used for an extended time, laboratory and/or medical tests (such as blood mineral levels, blood glucose, complete blood count, height/weight measurements, bone density tests, blood pressure, eye exams) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
This medication may cause bone problems (osteoporosis) when taken for an extended time. Lifestyle changes that may help reduce the risk of bone problems include doing weight-bearing exercise, getting enough calcium and vitamin D, stopping smoking, and limiting alcohol. Discuss with your doctor lifestyle changes that might benefit you.
If you are taking this medication daily and miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
If you are taking this medication on a different schedule than a daily one (such as every other day), ask your doctor ahead of time about what you should do if you miss a dose.
If you have questions about missing a dose or you don't have more medication, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).