(pred' ni sone)
Brand name(s): Cortan; Deltasone; Liquid Pred; Meticorten; Orasone;
Panasol-S; Prednicen-M; Prednisone Intensol
Why is this medication prescribed?
Prednisone, a corticosteroid, is similar to a natural hormone produced by
your adrenal glands. It often is used to replace this chemical when your
body does not make enough of it. It relieves inflammation (swelling, heat,
redness, and pain) and is used to treat certain forms of arthritis; skin,
blood, kidney, eye, thyroid, and intestinal disorders (e.g., colitis);
severe allergies; and asthma. Prednisone also is used with other drugs to
prevent rejection of transplanted organs and to treat certain types of
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or
pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Prednisone comes as a tablet, solution, concentrate, and syrup to be taken
by mouth. Your doctor will prescribe a dosing schedule that is best for
you. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask
your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use
the specially marked dropper that comes with the concentrate to measure
the dose. You may mix it with fruit juice or semisolid food (e.g.,
If you are to take prednisone every other day, take it at breakfast on the
first day and do not take it at all on the second day. Then take it at
breakfast on the third day, do not take it at all on the fourth day, and
If you are to take prednisone once a day, take it in the morning with
If you are to take prednisone more than once a day, take it at evenly
spaced intervals between the time you wake up in the morning and the time
you go to bed at night. For example, if your doctor tells you to take it
three times a day, take it at 7 a.m., 3 p.m., and 11 p.m.
Do not stop taking prednisone without talking to your doctor. Stopping the
drug abruptly can cause loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness,
confusion, headache, fever, joint and muscle pain, peeling skin, and
weight loss. If you take large doses for a long time, your doctor probably
will decrease your dose gradually to allow your body to adjust before
stopping the drug completely. Watch for these side effects if you are
gradually decreasing your dose and after you stop taking the tablets or
oral liquid. If these problems occur, call your doctor immediately. You
may need to increase your dose of tablets or liquid temporarily or start
taking them again.
Take prednisone exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or
take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking prednisone,
tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to prednisone,
aspirin, tartrazine (a yellow dye in some processed foods and drugs), or
any other drugs.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription
medications you are taking, especially anticoagulants ('blood thinners')
such as warfarin (Coumadin), arthritis medications, aspirin, cyclosporine
(Neoral, Sandimmune),digoxin (Lanoxin), diuretics ('water pills'),
estrogen (Premarin), ketoconazole (Nizoral), oral contraceptives,
phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin), rifampin (Rifadin), theophylline
(Theo-Dur), and vitamins.
If you have a fungal infection (other than on your skin), do not take
prednisone without talking to your doctor.
Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver, kidney, intestinal,
or heart disease; diabetes; an underactive thyroid gland; high blood
pressure; mental illness; myasthenia gravis; osteoporosis; herpes eye
infection; seizures; tuberculosis (TB); or ulcers.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are
breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking prednisone, call your
If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or
dentist that you are taking prednisone.
If you have a history of ulcers or take large doses of aspirin or other
arthritis medication, limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages while
taking this drug.
Prednisone makes your stomach and intestines more
susceptible to the irritating effects of alcohol, aspirin, and certain
arthritis medications. This effect increases your risk of ulcers.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Your doctor may instruct you to follow a low-sodium, low-salt,
potassium-rich, or high-protein diet. Follow these directions.
If you experience stomach pain or upset stomach, you may take this
medication with food or milk.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
When you start to take prednisone, ask your doctor what to do if you
forget a dose. Write down these instructions so that you can refer to them
In general, if you take prednisone every other day and remember a missed
dose on the morning of the day you should have taken it, take the missed
dose as soon as you remember it. If you remember a missed dose on that
afternoon (or later), start a new schedule. Take the missed dose on the
next morning (day one), do not take it at all on day two, and take the
next dose on the morning of day three.
If you take prednisone once a day, take the missed dose as soon as you
remember it. If you do not remember a missed dose until it is time for
your next dose, skip the missed dose completely and take only the
regularly scheduled dose.
If you take more than one dose a day, take the missed dose as soon as you
remember it; then take any remaining doses for that day at evenly spaced
intervals. If you remember a missed dose when it is time for you to take
another, you may take both doses at one time.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Although side effects from prednisone are not common, they can occur. Tell
your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
increased hair growth
irregular or absent menstrual periods
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor
swollen face, lower legs, or ankles
cold or infection that lasts a long time
black or tarry stool
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out
of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess
heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is
outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper
disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center. If the
victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor
will order certain lab tests to check your response to prednisone.
Checkups are especially important for children because prednisone can slow
If your condition worsens, call your doctor. Your dose may need to be
Carry an identification card that indicates that you may need to take
supplementary doses (write down the full dose you took before gradually
decreasing it) of prednisone during periods of stress (injuries,
infections, and severe asthma attacks).
Ask your pharmacist or doctor how
to obtain this card. List your name, medical problems, drugs and dosages,
and doctor's name and telephone number on the card.
This drug makes you more susceptible to illnesses. If you are exposed to
chicken pox, measles, or tuberculosis (TB) while taking prednisone, call
your doctor. Do not have a vaccination, other immunization, or any skin
test while you are taking prednisone unless your doctor tells you that you
Report any injuries or signs of infection (fever, sore throat, pain during
urination, and muscle aches) that occur during treatment.
Your doctor may instruct you to weigh yourself every day. Report any
unusual weight gain.
If your sputum (the matter you cough up during an asthma attack) thickens
or changes color from clear white to yellow, green, or gray, call your
doctor; these changes may be signs of an infection.
If you have diabetes, prednisone may increase your blood sugar level. If
you monitor your blood sugar (glucose) at home, test your blood or urine
more frequently than usual. Call your doctor if your blood sugar is high
or if sugar is present in your urine; your dose of diabetes medication and
your diet may need to be changed.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any
questions you have about refilling your prescription.