Prednisone Tablets

Prednisone is a steroid medication that treats conditions like asthma, allergic reactions, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and adrenal, blood or bone marrow conditions. It decreases inflammation, slows an overactive immune system or replaces cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that helps your body respond to stress, injury and illness.


What is this medication?

PREDNISONE (PRED ni sone) treats many conditions such as asthma, allergic reactions, arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, adrenal, and blood or bone marrow disorders. It works by decreasing inflammation, slowing down an overactive immune system, or replacing cortisol normally made in the body. Cortisol is a hormone that plays an important role in how the body responds to stress, illness, and injury. It belongs to a group of medications called steroids.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Deltasone, Predone, Sterapred, Sterapred DS


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What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • Cushing's syndrome.
  • Diabetes.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Heart disease.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Infection (especially a virus infection such as chickenpox, cold sores, or herpes).
  • Kidney disease.
  • Liver disease.
  • Mental illness.
  • Myasthenia gravis.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Seizures.
  • Stomach or intestine problems.
  • Thyroid disease.
  • An unusual or allergic reaction to lactose, prednisone, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives.
  • Pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
  • Breast-feeding.

How should I use this medication?

Take this medication by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take this medication with food. If you are taking this medication once a day, take it in the morning. Do not take more medication than you are told to take. Do not suddenly stop taking your medication because you may develop a severe reaction. Your care team will tell you how much medication to take. If your care team wants you to stop the medication, the dose may be slowly lowered over time to avoid any side effects.

Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. Special care may be needed.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.


What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, talk to your care team. You may need to miss a dose or take an extra dose. Do not take double or extra doses without advice.

What may interact with this medication?

Do not take this medication with any of the following:

  • Metyrapone.
  • Mifepristone.

This medication may also interact with the following:

  • Aminoglutethimide.
  • Amphotericin B.
  • Aspirin and aspirin-like medications.
  • Barbiturates.
  • Certain medications for diabetes, like glipizide or glyburide.
  • Cholestyramine.
  • Cholinesterase inhibitors.
  • Cyclosporine.
  • Digoxin.
  • Diuretics.
  • Ephedrine.
  • Female hormones, like estrogens and birth control pills.
  • Isoniazid.
  • Ketoconazole.
  • NSAIDS, medications for pain and inflammation, like ibuprofen or naproxen.
  • Phenytoin.
  • Rifampin.
  • Toxoids.
  • Vaccines.
  • Warfarin.

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.


What should I watch for while using this medication?

Visit your care team for regular checks on your progress. If you are taking this medication over a prolonged period, carry an identification card with your name and address, the type and dose of your medication, and your care team's name and address.

This medication may increase your risk of getting an infection. Tell your care team if you are around anyone with measles or chickenpox, or if you develop sores or blisters that do not heal properly.

If you are going to have surgery, tell your care team that you have taken this medication within the last twelve months.

Ask your care team about your diet. You may need to lower the amount of salt you eat.

This medication may increase blood sugar. Ask your care team if changes in diet or medications are needed if you have diabetes.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?

Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:

  • Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Cushing syndrome—increased fat around the midsection, upper back, neck, or face, pink or purple stretch marks on the skin, thinning, fragile skin that easily bruises, unexpected hair growth.
  • High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)—increased thirst or amount of urine, unusual weakness or fatigue, blurry vision.
  • Increase in blood pressure.
  • Infection—fever, chills, cough, sore throat, wounds that don't heal, pain or trouble when passing urine, general feeling of discomfort or being unwell.
  • Low adrenal gland function—nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, unusual weakness or fatigue, dizziness.
  • Mood and behavior changes—anxiety, nervousness, confusion, hallucinations, irritability, hostility, thoughts of suicide or self-harm, worsening mood, feelings of depression.
  • Stomach bleeding—bloody or black, tar-like stools, vomiting blood or brown material that looks like coffee grounds.
  • Swelling of the ankles, hands, or feet.

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):

  • Acne.
  • General discomfort and fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Increase in appetite.
  • Nausea.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Weight gain.

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where should I keep my medication?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Protect from light. Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medication after the expiration date.

NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

Additional Common Questions

Is prednisone a steroid?

Yes, prednisone is a type of human-made (synthetic) steroid called a corticosteroid. Healthcare providers use prednisone to treat different conditions. It can replace cortisol in your body when your adrenal glands aren’t working well and not making enough cortisol for optimum body function. Cortisol is a hormone your body needs to function well and helps your body respond to stress, injury and illness. Your provider can also prescribe you prednisone if your immune system is turning on itself and attacking you or if your body is on overdrive and mounting an inflammatory response that’s not helpful but harmful.

How long does it take for prednisone to work?

The length of time it takes prednisone to work depends on your health condition and your dosage. Your healthcare provider will prescribe your dosage based on your condition. If you’re taking an immediate-release version of prednisone, your bloodstream should absorb it within two hours. Delayed-release versions of prednisone may take a little longer to get into your bloodstream — about six hours.

How long does prednisone stay in your system?

The half-life of prednisone is two to three hours, which means it’ll stay in your system for 11 to 16.5 hours. You shouldn’t stop taking prednisone suddenly. You should taper off the drug slowly under the supervision of your healthcare provider. Sudden stops can create an imbalance of natural steroids in your body. This may produce symptoms, including:

Can I take ibuprofen with prednisone?

No. Prednisone may interact with many different medications. This includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil®) and naproxen (Aleve®). Speak with your healthcare provider about all prescription medications, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, vitamins and supplements you take before starting prednisone.

Does prednisone raise blood pressure?

An increase in blood pressure is a potential side effect of taking prednisone. Symptoms of high blood pressure include:

Speak with your healthcare provider right away if you notice an increase in your blood pressure after taking prednisone. But don’t stop taking this medication without speaking to your provider. Your condition may worsen, or you may notice serious side effects if you stop taking the drug immediately. To prevent this, your provider may gradually reduce your dose.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Prednisone is a safe and effective steroid medication that treats a wide range of health conditions when used appropriately. It decreases inflammation, slows an overactive immune system and replaces cortisol in your body. If you’re taking prednisone, it’s important to take it as directed and not stop it suddenly. Suddenly stopping the medication can have adverse effects. If you have any questions about the use of prednisone, ask your healthcare provider.

Note: Intro and FAQ sections written and reviewed by Cleveland Clinic professionals.

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Note: Introduction and Additional Common Questions written and medically approved by Cleveland Clinic professionals.

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