Why is prednisone prescribed?

Classified as a corticosteroid or a steroid hormone, prednisone is similar to the steroid hormone your body produces naturally. Prednisone might be given along with other immunosuppressive medicines to prevent and treat rejection.

The body’s immune system protects you from infection. Immune cells recognize the transplanted lung as different from the rest of the body and attempt to destroy it. This is called rejection and is your body’s way of not accepting the new organ.

How and when should prednisone be used?

Prednisone is available in many genetic brands and in several dosages. Generally, you will be prescribed the 5 mg tablets, which can be easily broken in half if necessary.

Your prescription label tells you how much to take at each dose and how often to take the medicine. Follow these instructions carefully, and ask your pharmacist or doctor to explain anything you do not understand.

Once prednisone is prescribed, your doctor will gradually decrease the prednisone dosage over a period of time (generally six months) until the permanent dosage is achieved. This type of program is called a taper schedule. Taper schedules are individualized to meet each person’s special needs. Never change the dose of your prednisone without the advice of your doctor.

It is important that you take this medicine regularly as prescribed. Do not stop taking it. You will need to take immunosuppressant drugs every day for the rest of your life to prevent rejection.

Your healthcare provider might reduce or even stop prednisone when you are being treated for certain infections. This allows your body to effectively fight the infection.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/20/2019.


  • United Network for Organ Sharing. Prednisone Accessed 6/18/2019.
  • MedlinePlus Prednisone Accessed 6/18/2019.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy