Reduce Side Effects from Taking Prednisone

Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Lynn, Graeme, Eng and 9 others

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Several medical conditions are treated with prednisone. This steroidal drug is not effective until it converts via hepatic metabolism to prednisone. It has helped many patients suffering from diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. However, along with taking this indispensable drug are side effects that are often irritating and apparent to others, like weight gain, mood swings, "mooning" or swelling of the face, acne, increase in appetite, and night sweats. Patients usually take prednisone for long periods of time, which leads to dependence and loss of bone density. If you're diagnosed with a condition that requires you to take prednisone, you should learn how to recognize and control the side effects you'll have to endure. This way, you can achieve a higher quality of life despite your diagnosed ailment.

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Understanding the Side Effects of Steroidal Medication

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Prednisone is a steroid. The reason it's prescribed is it's very effective in relieving inflammation in patients. Like other corticosteroid medications, prednisone has very negative side effects. These side effects will vary depending on each particular person, the dosage and the length of use. If you are on a low prednisone dosage, you will have less serious side effects, especially if you follow your physician's recommendations. The more you read about prednisone's side effects, the more comfortable you will become taking it. Before you take prednisone, you should always be aware of the risks involved. It's always good to be forewarned.

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How to Reduce Prednisone Side Effects

Once you are diagnosed with a condition that requires you to take prednisone, you have to be prepared for the side effects. Your prednisone treatment is necessary to relieve your symptoms, but as a responsible patient, you have to learn about the side effects and ways to reduce them. When you take prednisone, you may experience any or all of following:

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  1. 1
    Infections.
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    If you are taking prednisone on a long-term basis, it will weaken your immune system, making you susceptible to various other diseases and issues. Make sure that you have your annual anti-flu shot. If you suddenly experience signs of infection, such as painful urination, large boils, and fever, call your doctor immediately.
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  2. 2
    Altered Physical Stress Response.
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    Taking prednisone for at least two weeks can change the way your body handles stress. You may suffer from adrenal insufficiency, which inhibits your body to adapt to physical stress. To reduce this side effect, your doctor has to prescribe stress dose steroids that will compensate for the sluggishness that your adrenal glands are experiencing. They give your body the steroids it requires to deal with the physical stress you encounter. Tell your dentist and physician if you have taken prednisone for at least two years. They will prescribe an increased amount of steroids to help you adjust to stressful events such as surgery, serious infections, or extensive work on your teeth.
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  3. 3
    The Steroid Withdrawal Syndrome.
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    You will experience muscle stiffness, fever, muscle tenderness, joint pain, and fatigue if you suddenly stop taking prednisone after taking it for at least two weeks. Steroidal medications should be gradually decreased in dosage and not stopped abruptly. Discuss this with your doctor so that he or she can help you taper your prednisone doses slowly.
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  4. 4
    Osteoporosis.
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    Prednisone can also cause a decrease in bone density or osteoporosis. This increases your risk of fractures. You can counter this by taking calcium supplements and by consuming dairy products. You need 1500 milligrams of calcium everyday. You need to do this because when you are taking prednisone, you lose 10-20 percent of bone mass in the first six months. You should also take 400-800 IU of vitamin D every day to increase the absorption of calcium. You should stop smoking and drinking alcohol because these increase your risk of osteoporosis. You can stabilize your bone mass when you exercise regularly, such as dancing, running, and walking. Also, make sure you keep your home and workplace safe to prevent accidents.
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  5. 5
    GI �" Gastrointestinal - Bleeding or Ulcers.
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    This side effect occurs more often if you take prednisone with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin or ibuprofen. To reduce this side effect you have to take the prednisone after your meals. It can also help if you take an antacid to reduce gastric irritation. If you experience tarry or black stools and abdominal pain, call your doctor immediately.
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  6. 6
    Weight Gain.
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    Taking prednisone can increase your appetite, and you'll gain weight
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    You should watch the calories you take in and make sure you exercise regularly to prevent gaining extra weight. Added weight may affect your self-esteem, and it compromises your general health, so you need to take control.
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  7. 7
    Inadequate Sleep or Insomnia.
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    The quality and amount of sleep you get may be affected by prednisone. This is more likely to happen if you take it before bedtime. You can ask your doctor if you can have your prednisone every morning. Try to get in bed about an hour before you sleep. Do not bring your work into the bedroom, and make sure it's relaxing enough to make you sleep. Keep your room dark and cool so that you can immediately fall asleep.
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  8. 8
    Elevated Blood Pressure and Fluid Retention.
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    Prednisone promotes the retention of fluid in cells. That is why your blood pressure tends to become elevated. You should start a low-sodium diet to control the rise of your blood pressure. This means you have to look for less salty versions of soups, dressings, chips, and other foods. You should also monitor your blood pressure regularly. You may have to take water pills or diuretics if your blood pressure shoots up.
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  9. 9
    Changes in Mood.
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    If you take more than 30 milligrams of prednisone a day, your moods will certainly be affected. Depression, extreme sadness, and extreme happiness for no reason are common experiences. Anxiety and irritability can also be issues. Be aware that you are having these mood swings because of your steroid medication. Tell your doctor about it because there might be another medicine that could counter the negative emotional effects. Your physician might also consider decreasing your dosage. Let your family and friends know that you are taking prednisone so that they can let you know of any behavioral changes, or at the very least, be warned.
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  10. 10
    Hardening of Arteries (atherosclerosis).
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    Steroidal medications like prednisone hasten the hardening of blood vessels. This increases the risk of heart ailments, especially if you take prednisone in high doses for at least a year. Have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and seek medical attention if you experience any chest pain.
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  11. 11
    Rise in Blood Glucose.
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    Taking prednisone on a long-term basis can also result in high blood glucose levels or diabetes. Have your blood sugar levels tested regularly, and stick to a healthy diet prescribed by your physician.
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  12. 12
    Aseptic Necrosis.
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    This condition caused cellular death to various parts of bones. It results from taking prednisone in high doses. Many experience this in their hip joints. An early sign of aseptic necrosis is hip pain, even if you are not diagnosed with hip arthritis. Call your doctor immediately if this happens so that you can be tested and treated.
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  13. 13
    Eye Issues.
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    Glaucoma or cataracts may result from taking prednisone for more than two weeks. If you already have these eye conditions, they may worsen with prednisone. You should see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible if you start having eye problems.
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Taking prednisone has its negative effects, but if you know what to look for, and what to do, you will get through your treatment without any problems. Just make sure that you know prednisone well before you take it.

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Tips

  • Always coordinate with your doctor while you're on prednisone.
  • Take the time to check your diet and lifestyle. Make the necessary changes.
  • Ask your doctor about taking supplementats while taking prednisone.

Questions and Answers

The best drug to reduce side effects of prednisone?

My body immunity is down, I have hypertension, and I'm experiencing vertigo.

To circumvent the fact that your immune system is weaker when you're taking prednisone, make sure you get all of your necessary shots to avoid diseases. Hypertension and vertigo are problems that you need to discuss with your doctor, as they could be signs of something more serious.

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I am covered with bruises as a result of taking prednisone. What can I do?

Is there anything I can take to stop bruising from 40 years of taking prednisone? Is there any alternative to prednisone?

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I am just beginning to take prednisone for temporal Arteritis. I have been reading about the side effects and it is really very discouraging. How do I reduce these effects?

I have been diagnosed with Temporal Arteritis. I have just begun taking 60 mg. of Prednisone. I have been reading about the awful side effects. I am a 48 yr. old woman who is in fairly good shape with 5 children. I do not want to gain the excess weight or have my face swell up like the moon. I also do not want to become unbearable for my children and husband. What is the best way to avoid these side effects?

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Up to now, I've experienced disruptions of sleep, especially after some physical stress. What should I expect next, and what should I do?

I had problems sleeping after only one dose of 40mg prednisone. I dropped it immediately, even though doctor prescribed it for more than a week. Sleep was initially disrupted. It's been 3 months, and my sleep is still being disrupted when I have physical stress over a certain limit. What should I expect and do? I have tried: Sleep medications such as lyrica and clonazepam, which improved the sleep for the time being, but the problem keeps recurring. I think it was caused by: One time 40mg of prednisone

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How to reduce the side effects of wysolone 80 mg daily?

My mom is taking wysolone 80mg daily for Asthma and she is facing side effects because of that. Can you please help me with some remedies to at least lessen these? I have tried: We are trying to reduce the course but that is also creating issues. I think it was caused by: The steroid itself

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How can one reduce pain when touched?

I usually feel pain when touched at certain places such as arm, neck.

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Which time is suitable for taking wysolone?

And the best time for taking prednisone?

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I've been put on Prednisone to stop sweat itching problem.

I started with a weekly tapering regime - 50 mg, 40, 30, 20, 10, 5. The itching subsided untill I was on 30mg. Then the itching started again. Now I am back on 20mg, gaining wait and no relief with itching. I feel very shaky and cold inside. I have tried: Started with Dermatology, Primary and now Allergist. I think it was caused by: No one knows what's going on yet, and I am miserable

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What will counter the reaction to prednisone?

I'm taking it & gaining weight. I don't want to.

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I am prednisone and I want it out of my system for good very fast?

My face is swollen hip pain swollen back and deposists of fat how I I get rid also swollen knees and ankle need this drug out of my body. I am on prescription of reducing the drug how fast does it get out of the body. I have tried: My doctor just gave me the new dosage and calcium supplements and told me to see him after two weeks. I think it was caused by: That is the point I don't kno but its inflammation on my that caused all my problems diagnosed of connective tissue disorder and rsd.they just came sudden what type of exercise should I pertake is swimming good in removing the fat diposits

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