What is prednisolone?
Prednisolone is a steroid that prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation.
Prednisolone is used to treat many different inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, allergic disorders, gland (endocrine) disorders, and conditions that affect the skin, eyes, lungs, stomach, nervous system, or blood cells.
Prednisolone may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use prednisolone if you have a fungal infection anywhere in your body.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use prednisolone if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- a fungal infection anywhere in your body.
Prednisolone can weaken your immune system, making it easier for you to get an infection. Steroids can also worsen an infection you already have, or reactivate an infection you recently had. Tell your doctor about any illness or infection you have had within the past several weeks.
To make sure prednisolone is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- active tuberculosis;
- a thyroid disorder;
- herpes infection of the eyes;
- stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, or diverticulitis;
- depression, mental illness, or psychosis;
- liver disease (especially cirrhosis);
- high blood pressure;
- a muscle disorder such as myasthenia gravis; or
- multiple sclerosis.
Also tell your doctor if you have diabetes. Steroid medicines may increase the glucose (sugar) levels in your blood or urine. You may also need to adjust the dose of your diabetes medications.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
It is not known whether prednisolone passes into breast milk or if it could affect the nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.
How should I take prednisolone?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Do not use prednisolone in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Prednisolone is sometimes taken every other day. Follow your doctor’s dosing instructions very carefully.
Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
You may need to shake the oral suspension (liquid) well just before you measure a dose. Follow the directions on your medicine label.
Keep the disintegrating tablet in its blister pack until you are ready to take the medicine. Open the package using dry hands, and peel back the foil from the tablet blister (do not push the tablet through the foil). Remove the tablet and place it in your mouth.
Allow the disintegrating tablet to dissolve in your mouth without chewing. Swallow several times as the tablet dissolves. If desired, you may drink liquid to help swallow the dissolved tablet.
Your dose needs may change if you have unusual stress such as a serious illness, fever or infection, or if you have surgery or a medical emergency. Tell your doctor about any such situation that affects you.
This medicine can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using prednisolone.
You should not stop using prednisolone suddenly. Follow your doctor’s instructions about tapering your dose.
Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you take prednisolone. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you take steroid medication.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using prednisolone. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose of prednisolone.
What happens if I overdose?
An overdose of prednisolone is not expected to produce life threatening symptoms. However, long term use of high steroid doses can lead to symptoms such as thinning skin, easy bruising, changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your face, neck, back, and waist), increased acne or facial hair, menstrual problems, impotence, or loss of interest in sex.
What should I avoid while taking prednisolone?
Do not receive a “live” vaccine while using prednisolone. The vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), polio, rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.
Do not receive a smallpox vaccine or you could develop serious complications.
Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Call your doctor for preventive treatment if you are exposed to chickenpox or measles. These conditions can be serious or even fatal in people who are using steroid medication.
Prednisolone side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling, rapid weight gain;
- bruising, thinning skin, or any wound that will not heal;
- severe depression, changes in personality, unusual thoughts or behavior;
- new or unusual pain in an arm or leg or in your back;
- bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
- severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting;
- a seizure (convulsions); or
- low potassium–leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, increased thirst or urination, numbness or tingling.
Steroids can affect growth in children. Tell your doctor if your child is not growing at a normal rate while using prednisolone.
Common side effects may include:
- fluid retention (swelling in your hands or ankles);
- dizziness, spinning sensation;
- changes in your menstrual periods;
- muscle pain or weakness; or
- stomach discomfort, bloating.
What other drugs will affect prednisolone?
Other drugs may interact with prednisolone, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
Common medications checked in combination with prednisolone:
- Aspirin Low Strength (aspirin)
- Augmentin (amoxicillin / clavulanate)
- Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
- Bromfed (brompheniramine / phenylephrine)
- citalopram (Celexa)
- Fish Oil (omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids)
- Lasix (furosemide)
- Lipitor (atorvastatin)
- Lyrica (pregabalin)
- MiraLax (polyethylene glycol 3350)
- Motrin (ibuprofen)
- Nexium (esomeprazole)
- Paracetamol (acetaminophen)
- Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine)
- Singulair (montelukast)
- Spiriva (tiotropium)
- Symbicort (budesonide / formoterol)
- Tylenol (acetaminophen)
- Ventolin (albuterol)
- Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
- Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)
- Zyrtec (cetirizine)