Prednisone belongs to a class of medicines called corticosteroids. It is derived synthetically from the hormone cortisone. It is present in an inactive form and is converted to its active form, prednisolone, in the liver. Prednisone works by preventing the body from releasing inflammation-causing agents and suppressing the immune response. As an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive medicine, prednisone is used for the treatment of various inflammatory conditions in the body.
Prednisone functions by limiting the body’s immune and inflammatory responses. It is widely prescribed for managing arthritis, allergic conditions, multiple sclerosis (a chronic condition that affects your brain and spinal cord and causes problems with vision, balance, and muscle control), and lupus (your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs, resulting in swelling of the affected body systems). It is used as an adjunct for the treatment of cancer or for those who have undergone organ transplantation.
Prednisone may cause minor side effects in some people, and they may include:
Muscle cramps, swelling of hands/feet/ankles, weight gain, signs of infection (fever, sore throat), vision problems, stomach/intestinal bleeding, mood changes, easy bruising/bleeding, etc. are a few of the severe side effects of prednisone.
One of the rare side effects of prednisone is a rise in blood sugar levels, which may worsen your diabetes. Consult your doctor if you experience any symptoms of high blood sugar levels, such as increased thirst or frequent urination.
Q1. When should I take prednisone?
Prednisone should be consumed in the morning, preferably with food. Prednisone has possible side effects of irritating the stomach lining and causing sleep disturbances. To avoid these side effects, one may take the medicine early in the day with food.
Q2. How long does it take for prednisone to work?
Prednisone is metabolised in the body quickly and begins to show its effect within an hour or two. Depending on your requirements, your physician may recommend a delayed-release formula, extending the effects over a long period of time.
Q3. Can I take prednisone if I have COVID?
In cases of severe COVID, the body’s immune reaction causes damage to the internal organs, especially the lungs. Steroids have been effectively used in some cases to limit the effects of inflammation and the immune response. Consulting a physician before taking prednisone is recommended.
Q4. Is prednisone a narcotic?
No, prednisone is not a narcotic; it is a corticosteroid. It is a synthetic derivative of the hormone cortisone. Narcotics are medicines that cause drowsiness, sleep, or insensibility. Most notably, opioids like morphine are considered narcotics.
Q5. Is prednisone a painkiller?
No, prednisone has no pain-relieving properties. Prednisone has an anti-inflammatory effect and suppresses the immune response. Pain relief is achieved through the use of opioids, or painkillers. Common examples include paracetamol, diclofenac, morphine, etc.
Q6. Does prednisone help with COVID pneumonia?
Prednisone has been beneficial in the treatment of patients who have developed COVID pneumonia. Clinical studies have shown a substantial reduction in the length of hospital stay and mortality rates of moderately to severely ill patients treated with low-dose prednisone.
Q7. Can I stop taking prednisone after one day?
Prednisone mimics the cortisol hormone produced by the body. When a person starts taking prednisone, it affects the amount of cortisol produced by the body. If the medicine is stopped suddenly, the body faces difficulty coping with the sudden demand for cortisol. Hence, prednisone should be stopped in a phased manner.
Q8. How do you maintain your immunity when taking prednisone?
Prednisone suppresses the body’s immune response. People taking prednisone should take precautions to improve their natural immunity. To help strengthen immunity, incorporate a balanced diet, regular exercise, proper sleep, and adequate water consumption into the daily routine.
Q9. Can prednisone cause shortness of breath?
Yes, prednisone may cause shortness of breath in some individuals. Trouble breathing and shortness of breath, especially at night, is one of the side effects of taking prednisone. Stop the medicine immediately if you notice any side effects and consult a doctor.
Q10. Is prednisone a potent steroid?
Prednisone is four times more potent than cortisol, the body’s steroid hormone. There are other steroids, such as methylprednisolone, that are more potent than prednisone. The potency of the medicine depends on the quantity and the chemical salt used.
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