Facts about Prednisone side effects

Prednisone side effects :
a look at Purpose, Use and Impact

Prednisone, a corticosteroid, is similar to a natural hormone produced by your adrenal glands. It often is used to replace this chemical when your body does not make enough of it. It relieves inflammation (swelling, heat, redness, and pain) and is used to treat certain forms of arthritis; skin, blood, kidney, eye, thyroid, and intestinal disorders (e.g., colitis); severe allergies; and asthma. Prednisone also is used with other drugs to prevent rejection of transplanted organs and to treat certain types of cancer.

Prednisone side effects and interactions

Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits. Also, your progress may have to be checked after you have stopped using this medicine, since some of the effects may continue.

Do not stop using this medicine without first checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to reduce gradually the amount you are using before stopping the medicine completely.

Check with your doctor if your condition reappears or worsens after the dose has been reduced or treatment with this medicine is stopped.

If you will be using corticosteroids for a long time your doctor may want you to follow a low-salt diet and/or a potassium-rich diet, may want you to watch your calories to prevent weight gain, may want you to add extra protein to your diet, may want you to have your eyes examined by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) before, and also sometime later during treatment and may want you to carry a medical identification card stating that you are using this medicine.

Tell the doctor in charge that you are using this medicine before having skin tests, any kind of surgery (including dental surgery) or emergency treatment or if you get a serious infection or injury.

Avoid close contact with anyone who has chickenpox or measles. This is especially important for children. Tell your doctor right away if you think you have been exposed to chickenpox or measles.

While you are being treated with this medicine, and after you stop taking it, do not have any immunizations without your doctor's approval. Also, other people living in your home should not receive the oral polio vaccine, since there is a chance they could pass the polio virus on to you. In addition, you should avoid close contact with other people at school or work who have recently taken the oral polio vaccine.

For patients with diabetes, Prednisone side effects may affect blood glucose (sugar) levels. If you notice a change in the results of your blood or urine sugar tests or if you have any questions, check with your doctor.

For patients having this medicine injected into their joints you should be careful not to put too much stress or strain on that joint for a while, even if it begins to feel better. Make sure your doctor has told you how much you are allowed to move this joint while it is healing. If redness or swelling occurs at the place of injection, and continues or gets worse, check with your doctor.

Observed Prednisone side effects

Corticosteroids may lower your resistance to infections. Also, any infection you get may be harder to treat. Always check with your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any signs of a possible infection, such as sore throat, fever, sneezing, or coughing.

Along with its needed effects, there may be unwanted Prednisone side effects. Although not all of these Prednisone side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention. When this medicine is used for short periods of time, side effects usually are rare. However, check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following Prednisone side effects occur:

Less Commonly Observed

Decreased or blurred vision; frequent urination; increased thirst.

Rarely Observed

Blindness (sudden, when injected in the head or neck area); burning, numbness, pain, or tingling at or near place of injection ; confusion; excitement ; false sense of well-being; hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there); mental depression; mistaken feelings of self-importance or being mistreated; mood swings (sudden and wide); redness, swelling, or other sign of allergy or infection at place of injection; restlessness ; skin rash or hives.

Additional Prednisone side effects may occur if you take this medicine for a long time. Check with your doctor if any of the following Prednisone side effects occur:

Abdominal or stomach pain or burning (continuing); acne; bloody or black, tarry stools ; changes in vision; eye pain; filling or rounding out of the face; headache; irregular heartbeat; menstrual problems; muscle cramps or pain; muscle weakness; nausea; pain in arms, back, hips, legs, ribs, or shoulders; pitting, scarring, or depression of skin at place of injection; reddish purple lines on arms, face, groin, legs, or trunk; redness of eyes; sensitivity of eyes to light; stunting of growth (in children); swelling of feet or lower legs; tearing of eyes; thin, shiny skin; trouble in sleeping; unusual bruising; unusual increase in hair growth; unusual tiredness or weakness; vomiting; weight gain (rapid); wounds that will not heal.

Other Prednisone 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. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More Commonly Observed

Increased appetite; indigestion; loss of appetite (for triamcinolone only); nervousness or restlessness.

Less Commonly Observed

Darkening or lightening of skin color; dizziness or lightheadedness; flushing of face or cheeks; hiccups; increased joint pain (after injection into a joint); increased sweating; nosebleeds (after injection into the nose) ; sensation of spinning.

After you stop using this medicine, your body may need time to adjust. The length of time this takes depends on the amount of medicine you were using and how long you used it. If you have taken large doses of this medicine for a long time, your body may need one year to adjust. During this time, check with your doctor immediately if any of the following Prednisone side effects occur:

Abdominal, stomach, or back pain; dizziness ; fainting; fever; loss of appetite (continuing); muscle or joint pain; nausea; reappearance of disease symptoms; shortness of breath ; unexplained headaches (frequent or continuing) ; unusual tiredness or weakness; vomiting; weight loss (rapid).

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

Sources : The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the United States Pharmacopeia (USP)

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