Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Electrolytes and fluid: If you take large doses of prednisone, you may need to restrict your salt intake and take potassium supplements. Check with your doctor about whether you need any supplements while you are on this medication. You may also retain extra fluid that may cause an increase in your blood pressure. Your doctor will monitor for these effects by checking your blood pressure and doing blood tests to check your electrolyte levels.
Eye problems: Prolonged use of prednisone may cause glaucoma with possible damage to the optic nerves or it may produce cataracts. It may also increase the risk of eye infections due to fungi or viruses. Report any change in vision, eye pain, eye irritation, redness, or discharge to your doctor as soon as possible.
High blood sugar: Prednisone can cause high blood sugar. Your doctor may check your blood sugar levels with blood tests while you are taking this medication. If you have diabetes, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. If you experience increased thirst and urination while taking this medication, contact your doctor.
Infections: This medication may mask some signs of infection, and new infections may appear during their use. Contact your doctor if you notice any symptoms of an infection (e.g., fever, chills, cough, sore throat), or if you are in contact with someone who has measles or chickenpox.
Kidney problems: Prednisone may be used in the treatment of specific kidney problems. It may also cause increased fluid retention and electrolyte changes, affecting the kidney. If you have kidney problems or reduced kidney function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver function: Liver disease or reduced liver function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Medical treatment: Inform all doctors that you go to that you are taking this medication.
Mental health: Prednisone, like other corticosteroids, may cause behaviour and personality changes and mood swings. These reactions are most likely to occur when you first start taking this medication. If you experience these symptoms, or notice them in a family member who is taking this medication, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Osteoporosis: This medication can increase the risk of osteoporosis (brittle bones). Talk to your doctor about ways to help prevent osteoporosis. Your doctor will monitor your bone density if you take this medication for a long period of time.
Stomach and intestinal problems: If you have or have had a stomach or intestinal ulcer, or have ulcerative colitis, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Stopping medication: Do not stop this medication without consulting your doctor. When this medication is stopped after having taken it for a prolonged period, the dose should be reduced slowly as prescribed by your doctor. Suddenly stopping prednisone following prolonged treatment may result in symptoms of corticosteroid withdrawal syndrome including nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, muscle and joint pain, and a general feeling of being unwell.
Unusual stress: If you experience any unusual physical stress (e.g., trauma, surgery), your doctor may increase your dose of prednisone during and after the event.
Vaccination: If you are taking this medication, vaccines may not be as effective and you may be more likely to experience certain side effects. Therefore, vaccines are usually not recommended while you are taking prednisone, especially when high doses are used.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking prednisone, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding . If you take high doses of prednisone, your doctor may advise you not to breast-feed.
Children: Since prednisone can slow the growth and development of infants and children, it should not be taken for prolonged periods of time if at all possible. Growth and development will be closely monitored by your child's doctor.