Prednisolone belongs to the group of medicines known as glucocorticoids, which are steroids. It can be used to help control inflammatory and allergic disorders such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and colitis by suppressing inflammation.
Prednisolone is available in tablet, soluble tablet and injection form. It is also available in enteric-coated form, which means they do not start to break down until they have travelled through the stomach and have reached the small intestine. This reduces the risk of stomach irritation.
Before Taking Prednisolone
Make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- if you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding
- if you have suffered stress, trauma, had surgery or are about to have an operation
- if you have septicaemia, TB (tuberculosis), or have a family history of these conditions
- if you are suffering from any kind of infection, including chicken pox, shingles or measles or have been in contact with anyone who has them
- if you suffer from high blood pressure, epilepsy, heart problems or have a family history of these conditions
- if you suffer from liver or kidney problems
- if you suffer from diabetes mellitus or glaucoma or have a family history of these conditions
- if you suffer from osteoporosis or if you are a woman who has gone through the menopause
- if you suffer from psychosis or have a family history of mental problems
- if you suffer from myasthenia gravis (muscle weakening disease)
- if you suffer from peptic ulcer or any gastric intestinal disorder or have a history of these conditions
- if you have recently had a vaccination or about to have one
- if you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine
- if you are taking any other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription (herbal and complementary medicines)
How to Take Prednisolone
- Take your medication exactly as directed by your doctor.
- Always read the manufacturer’s information leaflet, if possible, before beginning treatment (these are also at the bottom of this page).
- DO NOT stop taking prednisolone without speaking to your doctor first.
- You must follow the printed instructions you have been given with your medication.
- Each dose of prednisolone must be taken with or just after food. If taking as a single dose take with or just after breakfast.
- If you have been prescribed soluble prednisolone you must dissolve or mix in water before taking.
- If you have been prescribed the enteric-coated prednisolone you must swallow them whole, not chewed or crushed. Do not take indigestion remedies at the same time as enteric-coated prednisolone.
- Try to take this medicine at the same time each day to avoid missing any doses.
- Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else has taken an overdose of prednisolone contact your doctor or go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Always take the container with you, if possible, even if empty.
- This medicine is for you. Never give it to others even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Before taking any ‘over-the-counter’ medicines, check with your pharmacist which medicines are safe for you to take alongside prednisolone.
- If you come into contact with anyone who has measles, shingles or chicken pox or suspects they might have them, you must see your doctor as soon as possible.
- If you have been given a steroid treatment card, carry it with you at all times.
- Before having any kind of medical treatment or surgery, including dental or emergency treatment or any medical tests, tell the doctor, dentist or surgeon you are taking prednisolone and show them your treatment card.
- While taking prednisolone do not have any vaccinations without speaking to your doctor first.
Can Prednisolone cause problems?
Along with their needed effects, all medicines can cause unwanted side effects, which usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine. Speak with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or become troublesome.
Indigestion, stomach ulcers (with bleeding or perforation), bloating, oesophageal (gullet) ulcer, thrush, inflammation of the pancreas, muscle wasting of the upper arms and legs, thinning and wasting of the bones, bone and tendon fracture, adrenal suppression, irregular or stoppage of periods, cushing syndrome (upper body weight gain), hair growth, weight gain, change in the body’s proteins and calcium, increased appetite, increased susceptibility to infections, euphoria (feeling high), feeling of dependency on treatment, depression, sleeplessness, pressure on the nerve of the eye (sometimes in children in stopping treatment), worsening of schizophrenia and epilepsy, glaucoma, (increased pressure on the eye), pressure on the nerve to the eye, thinning of the tissues of the eye, worsening of viral or fungal infections of the eye, reduction in healing, thinning of the skin, bruising, stretch marks, patches of reddening, acne, water and salt retention, hypersensitivity reactions, blood clots, nausea (feeling sick), malaise (general feeling of being unwell) or hiccups.
Consult your doctor or pharmacist if any of the side effects mentioned above continue or become troublesome. You should also tell your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any other side effects not mentioned in this leaflet.
How to store Prednisolone
- Keep all medicines out of the reach of children.
- Store in a cool dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- Never keep out of date or unwanted medicines. Discard them safely out of the reach of children or take them to your local pharmacist who will dispose of them for you.
Patient Information Leaflets (PIL):
Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust provided the following advice for patients taking prednisolone.
Corticosteroids: extensive information on uses, disadvantages, how they work, how they are used in the clinic, what information patients should be given and more.