Duration Health — Med Guide: Prednisone




Prescription only


Prednisone is a corticosteroid used to treat inflammation (not the same as an anabolic steroid, like testosterone). It is a versatile and common medication used in a wide variety of diseases. One common use of prednisone is to treat the inflammation in the airways that happens with an asthma attack. Prednisone can also be used to treat severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis if used with epinephrine. Prednisone is often used in conjunction with albuterol which takes minutes to start treating the symptoms of asthma, while prednisone takes hours to work. This medication should be taken with food.

When to avoid

Avoid if you have an active infection, because prednisone suppresses the immune system, making it harder for your body to fight infection. Avoid if you have a bleeding problem, as prednisone can cause bleeding, particularly bleeding stomach ulcers. Avoid if you have osteoporosis, and avoid if you have psychiatric problems. If you have diabetes, your blood sugar may need to be monitored more closely while taking prednisone. The lowest possible dose of prednisone should be used to control the condition under treatment, and when reduction in dosage is possible, the reduction should be gradual.

When is it dangerous

Prednisone can cause worsening of infections, electrolyte disturbances, blood glucose abnormalities, muscle weakness, bone problems, bleeding ulcers, impaired wound healing, thin and fragile skin, neurologic problems, hormone imbalance, cataracts, glaucoma, and severe allergic reaction in susceptible people. Although these reactions can occur anytime, they usually occur when the drug is taken for longer periods of time. Do not stop taking prednisone suddenly; take the entire course of treatment.

When is it used

Severe allergic reaction prednisone 60 mg daily for 5 days
Asthma attack prednisone 60 mg daily for 5 days

Adult doses are shown, unless otherwise specified. Refer to weight-based dosing guidelines for pediatric patients.


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