Reduce Side Effects from Taking Prednisone

Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Lynn, Graeme, Eng and 15 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.


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.

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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    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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    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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    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 every day. You need to do this because when you are taking prednisone, you lose 10-20 percent of the 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
    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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 the 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.


  • 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 supplements 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.

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?

If you have been taking Prednisone for 40 years, age is also a factor in your bruising. There is a medication called Arnica that many on steroids take to help with bruising. You should also see if you can take a Collagen supplement while on your medications. Collagen will help to thicken your skin with more bounce as if you were 20 years old. It will need to be taken daily for the rest of your life to maintain healthy skin. Collagen is quickly depleted from your system.

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?

For the weight gain, cut sugar and carbohydrates out of your diet as much as possible. Steroids can raise blood glucose levels and "empty calorie" types of foods should be avoided. Eat a low salt high potassium diet to reduce fluid retention. The steroid will cause fluid retention in your face. Avoiding salts, processed foods(high in sodium), and drinking lots of water will keep your body flushing the excess water instead of storing it around your face.

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

Taking a medication just once, several months ago is not the cause of your insomnia. There are numerous reasons for insomnia. Stress and anxiety are leading causes of insomnia along with depression. I, for instance, had trouble sleeping after I learned that my life would be influx for an indefinite amount of time. I had to center myself emotionally before bed and get into a routine before I finally was able to fall asleep without tossing and turning. That anxiety is what caused my insomnia so start considering what other factors could have you tossing and turning at night. Be cautioned that medications for sleep such as what you were taking are highly addictive. They also could be one of the causes for your insomnia now. These medications make chemical changes in the brain to the point where people can't fall asleep unless they take the medication. Here are some VisiHow articles to help you in your quest for a good night's rest:

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

Follow the recommendations in the article on this page and from the answer section. When taking an asthma medication, the best way to reduce the medication is to remove triggers. Dust, animal dander, perfume scents, chemical cleaners, and mold are all triggers for asthma. Help her out by dusting the house regularly. Have her make a notation each time she feels an asthma attack beginning so that you can determine what her triggers are.

Which time is suitable for taking wysolone?

And the best time for taking prednisone?

Most people take it in the morning when they first wake up. This is done to avoid problems sleeping later on in the night. Also, you will want the full effect of the medication to work while you are awake. If you do take it in the morning, do so with a meal or glass of milk to avoid any stomach issues from the medication. You also should pay attention to your heart rate if you enjoy several cups of coffee in the morning. Caffeine can have a side effect of too much stimulant when taken with prednisone causing people to feel dizzy and shaky.

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 until I was on 30mg. Then the itching started again. Now I am back on 20mg, gaining weight 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

Itching is a severe side effect of Prednisone. Though rare, it can be frustrating. You can try taking an over the counter antihistamine or use creams with antihistamines in them to see if your itching is relieved. Use a moisturizer with oatmeal in it or make your own oatmeal paste at home to leave on the areas experiencing the most sensitivity. Although you may feel the urge to scratch, try to resist as much as possible so that you do not open large areas of skin which can bring on an infection.

What will counter the reaction to prednisone?

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

  1. 1
    Low sodium diet.
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  2. 2
    No processed foods.
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  3. 3
    No carbohydrates.
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  4. 4
    No Sugar.
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  5. 5
    Drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily.
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  6. 6
    Find a non-caffeinated herbal tea to enjoy and work as a diuretic.
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These steps will help you stop the weight gain. It is not a fun thing to be gaining weight feeling that you can't control it. You are battling fluid retention and a possible higher glucose level.

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

My face is swollen, hip pain swollen back and deposits of fat, how do I get rid of swollen knees and ankle, need this drug out of my body. I am on a prescription to reduce 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 know, but it is it's inflammation on me that caused all my problems, diagnosed of connective tissue disorder and RSD. They just came sudden, what type of exercise should I partake, is swimming good in removing the fat deposits?

Prednisone will be completely out of your system 24 hours after your last dosage. Swimming is an excellent exercise and it helps with your core muscles. It is also more forgiving on joints. You can also take an aquatic aerobics class at most gyms that have pools. For the belly fat, look into Intermittent Fasting. It has been shown as one of the fastest ways to reduce belly fat. Dr. Travis Stork has written a new book called The Lose Your Belly Diet in which he uses balancing your gut to lose belly fat. It is newer research that is exciting for the weight loss community.

Last time I took prednisone, urinated frequently, my vision changed, what is the best method to reduce these symptoms?

Been given a high dose of prednisone, 6 x 3 / 5 x 3 and on. For sinus and ear issue due to polyp blocking passages. Last year was a nightmare with the increase in blood sugar, had to get glasses, my eyesight literally changed from needing reading glasses to needing tri focal, up about every hour to urinate. Have sleep apnea so really drew a vacuum. Eyesight change was permanent, had to fight to get blood sugar down. Frequent urination. I have tried: About to start again, tried nothing yet, did see reducing carbs. I think it was caused by: Problem from steroids or reason having to take? I don't know what else to put down here but it won't let me continue.

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What is considered a high dose and a "long course" of prednisone?

I was recently diagnosed with a bad case of reactive arthritis which is not responding to NSAID's. My Doc. wants me to start on 30 mg/day of prednisone, but I am hoping to talk her into at least trying a smaller dose first. I have no idea how long I can expect to take this, but guessing it will be around 2-3 months.

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How would sporadic intake of prednisone affect me?

Hi, I have taken prednisone 50mg for 2 weeks a month ago for cervical pinched nerve. No side effects, however, the pain is back and more intense. I had to take 25mg to tone the pain down. Now I am traveling and will be back home to see my doctor in one month. How would sporadic intake of prednisone affect me? I have tried: Prednisone for 5 days and after two weeks pain returned and took prednisone for 2 weeks, cyclobenzaprine to reduce pain and sleep at night. I think it was caused by: Herniated disk and possible fall during skying activity

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ENT doctor put me on prednisone 20 mg 2 times a day for 5 days then 1 time a day for 5 days?

I can not sleep and I have to take for inflammation of jaw bone

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Side effect from prednisone. a lot off nausea taking the pill for polymialgia?

I was diagnose to have polymialgia rheumatica in September . The doc put me on prednisone 50mg for a week and start decreasing every week at 1/2 mg a week. they give me omeprazole 20mg for my stomach. the problem I have since is I have terrible nausea. of and on all the time.. I don't know if is from the disease or the pill. I'm down to 11.5 mg a day. thank you. I never read for the side effect with nausea cause the prednisone. I have tried: Nothing . the doc said I must be very sensitive did not suggest anything. I think it was caused by: Either the prednisone or the omeprazole 20 mg they give me for the stomach. I reed that omeprazole it can give you nausea . may be I should ask for a different medicine. What do you think?.

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Hi, I have given my daughter 6 tablets in the morning and evening ISO 6 per day for 3 days?

I have given my daughter 6 tablets in the morning and evening, ISO 6 tablets per day.. then 5 tablets morning and evening ISO only 5.. today I only gave her 4

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Should I Should I take take a diuretic for the edema in my legs, I'm on prednisone for 12 days , or only if BP goes up?for 9 more days?

I have an allergic reaction to Fosamax,,it's better but have to take 12 more days of pred. I want to know if I should take my HCTZ for the edema or just wear support hose.

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How can I get out of bed when belly fat from steroids makes it hard to sit up and arthritis in shoulders, neck and back makes it hard to push or pull?

I am an elderly woman with moderate rheumatoid arthritis, ambulatory because of steroids (cortisone), some bone thinning, recently having more trouble getting out of bed because I cannot raise myself in bed to get out of my bed. What can I do?

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