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Prednisone

Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

  • Aggression
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Decrease in the amount of urine
  • Dizziness
  • Fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Mental depression
  • Mood changes
  • Nervousness
  • Noisy, rattling breathing
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
  • Pounding in the ears
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of the fingers, hands, feet, or lower legs
  • Trouble thinking, speaking, or walking
  • Troubled breathing at rest
  • Weight gain

Incidence not known

  • Abdominal cramping and/or burning (severe)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Backache
  • Bloody, black, or tarry stools
  • Cough or hoarseness
  • Darkening of skin
  • Decrease in height
  • Decreased vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Eye pain
  • Eye tearing
  • Facial hair growth in females
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Fever or chills
  • Flushed, dry skin
  • Fractures
  • Fruit-like breath odor
  • Full or round face, neck, or trunk
  • Heartburn and/or indigestion (severe and continuous)
  • Increased hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of sexual desire or ability
  • Lower back or side pain
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Muscle pain or tenderness
  • Muscle wasting or weakness
  • Nausea
  • Pain in back, ribs, arms, or legs
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Skin rash
  • Sleeplessness
  • Sweating
  • Trouble healing
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Vision changes
  • Vomiting
  • Vomiting of material that looks like coffee grounds

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Increased appetite

Incidence not known

  • Abnormal fat deposits on the face, neck, and trunk
  • Acne
  • Dry scalp
  • Lightening of normal skin color
  • Red face
  • Reddish purple lines on the arms, face, legs, trunk, or groin
  • Swelling of the stomach area
  • Thinning of the scalp hair

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Precautions

If you will be taking this medicine for a long time, it is very important that your doctor check you at regular visits for any unwanted effects that may be caused by this medicine. Blood or urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using this medicine, tell your doctor right away.

If you are using this medicine for a long time, tell your doctor about any extra stress or anxiety in your life, including other health concerns and emotional stress. Your dose of this medicine might need to be changed for a short time while you have extra stress.

Using too much of this medicine or using it for a long time may increase your risk of having adrenal gland problems. Talk to your doctor right away if you have more than one of these symptoms while you are using this medicine: blurred vision; dizziness or fainting; a fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat; increased thirst or urination; irritability; or unusual tiredness or weakness.

This medicine may cause you to get more infections than usual. Avoid people who are sick or have infections and wash your hands often. If you are exposed to chickenpox or measles, tell your doctor right away. If you start to have a fever, chills, sore throat, or any other sign of an infection, call your doctor right away.

Check with your doctor right away if blurred vision, difficulty in reading, eye pain, or any other change in vision occurs during or after treatment. Your doctor may want you to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).

While you are being treated with prednisone, do not have any immunizations (vaccines) without your doctor’s approval. Prednisone may lower your body’s resistance and the vaccine may not work as well or you might get the infection the vaccine is meant to prevent. In addition, you should not be around other persons living in your household who receive live virus vaccines because there is a chance they could pass the virus on to you. Some examples of live vaccines include measles, mumps, influenza (nasal flu vaccine), poliovirus (oral form), rotavirus, and rubella. Do not get close to them and do not stay in the same room with them for very long. If you have questions about this, talk to your doctor.

This medicine may cause changes in mood or behavior for some patients. Tell your doctor right away if you have depression; mood swings; a false or unusual sense of well-being; trouble with sleeping; or personality changes while taking this medicine.

This medicine might cause thinning of the bones (osteoporosis) or slow growth in children if used for a long time. Tell your doctor if you have any bone pain or if you have an increased risk for osteoporosis. If your child is using this medicine, tell the doctor if you think your child is not growing properly.

Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain skin tests.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

Before Using

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of prednisone in children. However, pediatric patients are more likely to have slower growth and bone problems if prednisone is used for a long time. Recommended doses should not be exceeded, and the patient should be carefully monitored during therapy.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of prednisone in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related liver, kidney, or heart problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for elderly patients receiving prednisone.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters C Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breastfeeding

Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.

Drug Interactions

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Rotavirus Vaccine, Live

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Aldesleukin
  • Asparaginase
  • Bupropion
  • Gatifloxacin
  • Quetiapine
  • Telaprevir

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Alatrofloxacin
  • Alcuronium
  • Alfalfa
  • Amobarbital
  • Aprobarbital
  • Aspirin
  • Atracurium
  • Balofloxacin
  • Butabarbital
  • Butalbital
  • Cinoxacin
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Clarithromycin
  • Clinafloxacin
  • Enoxacin
  • Fleroxacin
  • Fluconazole
  • Flumequine
  • Fosphenytoin
  • Gallamine
  • Gemifloxacin
  • Grepafloxacin
  • Hexafluorenium
  • Itraconazole
  • Ketoconazole
  • Levofloxacin
  • Licorice
  • Lomefloxacin
  • Mephobarbital
  • Metocurine
  • Montelukast
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Norfloxacin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Pancuronium
  • Pefloxacin
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin
  • Primidone
  • Prulifloxacin
  • Rifampin
  • Rifapentine
  • Ritonavir
  • Rosoxacin
  • Rufloxacin
  • Saiboku-To
  • Secobarbital
  • Sparfloxacin
  • Temafloxacin
  • Tosufloxacin
  • Trovafloxacin Mesylate
  • Vecuronium
  • Warfarin

Other Interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Cataracts or
  • Congestive heart failure or
  • Cushing’s syndrome (adrenal gland problem) or
  • Diabetes or
  • Eye infection or
  • Glaucoma or
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) or
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) or
  • Infection (e.g., bacterial, virus, or fungus) or
  • Mood changes, including depression or
  • Myasthenia gravis (severe muscle weakness) or
  • Osteoporosis (weak bones) or
  • Peptic ulcer, active or history of or
  • Personality changes or
  • Stomach or intestinal problems (e.g., diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis) or
  • Tuberculosis, inactive—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Fungal infections or
  • Herpes simplex eye infection—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.

Description

Prednisone provides relief for inflamed areas of the body. It is used to treat a number of different conditions, such as inflammation (swelling), severe allergies, adrenal problems, arthritis, asthma, blood or bone marrow problems, eye or vision problems, lupus, skin conditions, kidney problems, ulcerative colitis, and flare-ups of multiple sclerosis. Prednisone is a corticosteroid (cortisone-like medicine or steroid). It works on the immune system to help relieve swelling, redness, itching, and allergic reactions.

This medicine is available only with your doctor’s prescription.