Prednisone is a steroid that belongs to a subcategory of meds known as corticosteroids. This drug is widely used for containing spells of inflammation, swelling as well as a few allergic conditions. It achieves these results by controlling your immunity system. Owing to these therapeutic properties, this drug is administered both as an immunity-suppressing drug as well as an anti-inflammatory med. Its immunity suppressing properties are put to use when you have a newly transplanted organ – such as say, a liver or a kidney. But, what are the side effects of prednisone? Ensure to know more about this drug’s side effects before starting your treatment plan.

This corticosteroid is used for the treatment of various forms of allergies; especially, those showing up in the form of inflammation or swelling. Prednisone also finds use in treating autoimmune problems like arthritis and a few skin / epidermal conditions. You may need to understand that this drug can minimize the natural defense system of your body. As a result – your body may turn vulnerable to microbial infections. It is a safe practice to keep away from conditions that are likely to infect you; also, keep safe distances from those who are already infected.

This steroid requires enzymes from your liver to work on them. Those who are already living with liver conditions – say, inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) or cirrhosis – must tell their caregiver about such hepatic problems. Similarly, those who are living with a marked decrease in potassium levels must inform their doctor about such clinical conditions. Often – a low level of potassium may manifest in the form of hypertension (high level of blood pressure) as well as other cardiac problems.

Side effects of using prednisone


This drug is likely to cause a few undesired reactions or adverse side effects. Common among them include changes in mental health (depression, being sad or feeling very low, etc.), a significant reduction in potassium levels, blurring of eyesight, traces of blood in stools, etc. In some cases, very high levels of blood pressure are observed along with an inflammation of your pancreas. The latter condition – clinically referred to as pancreatitis – shows up in the form of acute pains in the upper part of your abdomen, erratic heartbeats, and a few abdominal discomforts like nausea, vomiting, and pain.

A few other adverse reactions can include skin conditions – chiefly, acne, rashes or inflammation, migraines or painful spells of headaches, formation of gas/flatulence or bloating difficulties falling asleep, or insomnia. If you notice swelling of your face or an inflammation underneath your chin, you must consult with your caregiver without any further delay.

Adverse interactions with other drugs


Prednisone is likely to interact adversely when taken with other medications. Due to this reason – you are advised to inform your treating physician/pharmacist about all the drugs you are presently taking. Take additional precautions if you are taking drugs like blood thinners (warfarin or coumadin), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, naproxen or ibuprofen, anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drugs (like phenobarbital, carbamazepine, phenytoin, etc.) and antiviral / anti-HIV drugs (like ritonavir, nelfinavir, etc.).

It is a safe practice to make a list of all currently pursued treatment plans. Care to include all meds you are taking – including over-the-counter drugs, prescription meds, vitamins, herbal supplements as well as other dietary aids.

Safe intake of prednisone


As this drug is highly potent in nature, it is unsafe to take excessive doses of this drug. The doses may have to be altered if you are planning to undergo a surgical procedure or a dental intervention. Similarly, those who experience an increase in body temperature or any other infections may need to change the dosage value after talking to their doctor or pharmacist. It is always recommended to consume prednisone along with a meal.

Stay aware that this drug is made in two major forms – as a tablet and as a syrup (a liquid version). Those who are taking a pill must swallow it with 4 to 5 ounces of water. You may also drink juices to swallow the pill. But, never use carbonated drinks like soda or caffeinated drinks such as coffee. On the other hand, if you are using the liquid form – always use the ladle found inside the pack; never use a kitchen ladle or a spoon from your household. Usage of such spoons or ladles may lead to an overdosed condition.

Likely risks of overdose


Those who are taking the pill/tablet form must never powder it or crush it. It is always a safe practice to swallow the tablet. Those who bit the pill or crushed it inside their mouth are likely to experience an overdose of prednisone. If you have missed a dose, never double the strength of your next dose. Such practices may lead to an overdosed situation. Instead, it is recommended to skip the missed dose and proceed ahead with your next dose. However, if you have missed a series of doses – talk to your pharmacist and reschedule your dosage plan.

Those who are advised to use this drug over a longer-term are also more likely to witness signs of an overdose. The typical signs may include bulging or swelling of your facial organs (chin, cheeks, and neck), erratic menstrual periods, drop in libido, thinning down of skin as well as bruising. If you notice one or more of these conditions, you are advised to take medical help in an emergency mode. Those living in the US need to call 911 or the helpline number of the food and drug administration (FDA). It is important to know that the FDA runs its own helpdesk to assess the possible side effects of the drugs it has approved. Those who are residents of Canada can call Health Canada or rush to a local poison control center without much delay.

In sum, prednisone is administered for the treatment of allergies, inflammation, arthritis, and a few skin problems. It may also cause high levels of blood pressure, blurring of eyesight, traces of blood in stool, inflammation of the pancreas, skin conditions – like rashes or acne, headaches, bloating, insomnia, etc. These side effects do not constitute a complete list of all possible discomforts or adverse reactions. You are hence advised to talk to your caregiver and/or pharmacist to know the likely risks of adverse side effects and related discomforts.

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