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East Central Indiana
03/26/2019

Prednisone

Prednisone

Medications Information: Prednisone

WHY IS THIS DRUG PRESCRIBED?

Prednisone is a cortisone-like medicine.  Your body naturally produces certain cortisones which are necessary to maintain good health.  Cortisone-like medicines are also used to provide relief for inflamed areas of the skin.  They lessen swelling, redness, itching and allergic reaction.  They are often used as a part of treatment of a number of different skin diseases. 

WHAT SHOULD YOU TELL YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING THIS MEDICATION?

Your dermatologist should be told:

  • if you have had any unusual or allergic reactions to Prednisone or other cortisone like medications.
  • if you are pregnant, intend to become pregnant while taking this medicine, or breast feeding. 
  • if you have any known infection. 
  • if you have any of the following medical problems:  Bone disease, colitis, diabetes, diverticulitis, fungal infections, glaucoma, heart disease, herpes simplex of the eyes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglyceride levels, kidney disease or kidney stones, liver disease, myasthenia gravis, stomach ulcers, or other stomach problems, tuberculosis, under-active thyroid, prior psychosis, recent bowel surgery, osteoporosis, or cataracts. 
  • if you are now taking or receiving any of the following types of medicine:  Aspirin or other salicylates, heart medication, diuretics (water pills) or antihypertensives    (high blood pressure medicine), inflammation medicine (for example, arthritis medicine), insulin, blood thinners taken by mouth, diabetes medicine taken by mouth, or antibiotics. 

HOW SHOULD IT BE TAKEN?

Use this medicine only as directed by your doctor. Do not use more or less of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer period of time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of side effects. 

This medicine may upset your stomach. Eating something may help. If stomach upset, burning, or pain continues, check with us. Stomach problems are more likely to occur if you drink alcoholic beverages while being treated with this medicine. You should not drink alcoholic beverages while taking this medicine unless you have first checked with us.

WHAT SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS SHOULD I FOLLOW WHILE USING THIS DRUG?

Your progress will need to be checked at regular visits.  Do not stop this medicine without first checking with us.  We may want to reduce gradually the amount that you are using before stopping completely.  If you are using Prednisone for a long time, we may wish you to follow a low-salt, potassium-rich diet.  We may also want you to watch your calories to prevent weight gain.  If you are seeing other doctors, it is important to tell them that you are using this medicine: 

  • before having a vaccination, other immunizations or skin tests.
  • before having any kind of surgery (including dental surgery) or emergency treatment. 
  • if you get a serious infection or injury.  

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I FORGET TO TAKE A DOSE?

If you miss a dose of this medicine and your dosing schedule is one dose to be taken:

Every other day-

Take the missed dose as soon as possible if you remember it the same morning, then go back to your regular dosing schedule. If you do not remember the missing dose until later, wait and take it the following morning. Then skip a day and start your regular dosing schedule again.

Once a day-

Take the missed dose as soon as possible, then go back to your regular dosing schedule. If you do not remember until the next day, do not take the missed dose at all and do not double the next one.

Several times a day-

Take the missed dose as soon as possible, then go back to your regular dosing schedule. If you do not remember until your dose is due, double the next dose.

WHAT OTHER PRECAUTIONS SHOULD I FOLLOW WHILE TAKING THIS MEDICATION?

After you stop using this medicine, your body may need time to adjust. The length of time this takes depends on the amount of medicine you were using and how long you used it. If you have taken large doses of the medicine for long periods of time, your body may need one year to adjust. When the medication is given for less than three weeks, special adjustment is not necessary.

WHAT OTHER SIDE EFFECTS CAN THIS DRUG CAUSE? WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT THEM?

Minor Side Effects from Short-Term Therapy (2 - 3 Weeks or less)

- In the absence of any of the aforementioned contraindications, Prednisone therapy for this duration is rarely associated with serious side effects.

- The most common milder side effects include weight gain (from fluid retention or increased appetite), mood swings, mild stomach upset, and with intramuscular injections, menstrual irregularities.

- These side effects are temporary and completely reversible in virtually all patients.                        

Important Potential Side Effects from Long-Term Therapy

-Marked weight gain associated with fluid retention, leg swelling, and possibly breathing difficulties.

-Blood pressure elevations.

-Severe mood alterations, including euphoria, depression, and psychosis.

-Persistent headache with associated visual change and nausea.

-Persistent or severe abdominal pain.

-Significant fever or chills, or both, possibly with other signs of infection.

-Excessive thirst and urinary frequency or volume, possibly with excessive fatigue.

-Severe or persistent bone, joint, or muscle pain.

Other Less Serious Potential Side Effects from Long-Term Therapy

-Acne on the face or trunk.

-Excessive facial hair growth (in women).

-Easy bruising with minimal trauma to skin.

-Reversible hair thinning.

-Weight gain and increased fullness of the face.

-Abscess development or skin atrophy with intramuscular steroid injection.

Side Effects from Rapid Tapering of Prednisone Dose

-Possible side effects during relatively rapid decreases in Prednisone dosage with long-term therapy include muscle aches, joint aches, mood swings, headaches, and mild fatigue.

-If these symptoms are severe or accompanied by significant nausea and vomiting, marked dizziness with standing, and extreme fatigue.

-In addition, Prednisone dosage tapering may allow a significant flare-up of your skin condition.

WHAT ABOUT SKIPPED OR IRREGULAR MENSTRUAL CYCLES?

Don't be alarmed if you notice these menstrual changes. Women may occasionally notice skipped or irregular menstrual cycles. If this problem occurs please contact the office.