What is Prednisone
Prednisone is a synthetic hormone commonly referred to as a “steroid”. Prednisone is very similar to cortisone, a natural corticosteroid hormone produced by the body’s adrenal glands.
Prednisone is used for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Polymyalgia Rheumatica, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, diseases that cause inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis), other types of arthritis, and for many other types of diseases.
Prednisone suppresses the body’s immune system and also works to reduce inflammation that people experience as heat, redness, swelling, and pain.
Corticosteroids like prednisone are very different from anabolic steroids, the risky steroids related to male hormones that some athletes abuse for performance gains in sports and bodybuilding.
Prednisone – Dose, Administration, and Frequency
Typical doses for Prednisone vary, and can range from 1 mg per day to 100 mg per day.
Sometimes Prednisone is prescribed every other day and sometimes it is prescribed two or even three times a day.
The dose may be increased during stressful events like surgery or another medical illness to mimic the body’s normal hormone response.
Prednisone is usually available as oral tablets. Other medications that are similar to Prednisone called corticosteroids may be given by injection.
Prednisone is often best taken in the morning with breakfast. This schedule mimics the body’s natural production of corticosteroid hormones.
Most patients start to feel the effects of prednisone within a few days. Some patients will start feeling better hours after taking the first pill.
If you take prednisone and forget to take a dose at your usual time, but remember later the same day, take it immediately.
If you take prednisone daily and forget the previous day’s dose, skip that dose and resume taking the usual dose for today.
If you take prednisone on alternating days and forget the previous day’s dose, take that dose today, and then tomorrow resume the schedule of alternating days.
How Prednisone Works
Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid that is similar to cortisone, a natural corticosteroid hormone produced in the body’s adrenal glands.
Prednisone suppresses the body’s immune system, and prevents the release of substances in the body that can cause inflammation (heat, redness, swelling, and pain).
Although corticosteroids like Prednisone are often called “steroids”, they are very different from the types of male-hormone-related steroids that some athletes might abuse for strength or performance gains in sports.
Despite Prednisone’s potential for side effects, the combined immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory effects of the medication, as well as its relatively fast action compared to many other treatments, can make it a very useful tool to treat many forms of arthritis.