Prednisolone Side Effects: Top 7 Most Common Side Effects

Prednisolone side effects

This post is an article on the top 7 prednisolone side effects, a medication used to treat certain allergies. 

Steroid; a magical organic compound present everywhere, from the plant in your backyard to the mold growing on your bread to the membrane of cells in your body.

What are Steroids?

Steroids are substances that occur both naturally and can be created synthetically. They appear in our bodies like hormones. They are essential for body functioning. They deal with the endocrine and immune system aspects of the body.

There are different types of steroids. There are also multiple classifications of steroids.

But for our purposes, we will discuss corticosteroids. These are steroids released from a part of the brain called the adrenal cortex. It’s a part of a tiny gland called the pituitary gland.

There are two major types of corticosteroids; Glucocorticoids and Mineralocorticoids.

In the simplest sense, Glucocorticoids are substances that deal with carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. They also affect the immune system of the body and hence are important.

Mineralocorticoids are substances that deal with mineral equilibria in our bodies. They act on kidneys and manage the water and electrolyte levels.

There is also a small gland on our kidneys called the adrenal gland. This gland, although tiny, secretes different types of steroids such as cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and so on. Anabolic steroids, androgens, progesterone, and estrogen are the other types of steroids.

What is Prednisolone?

Prednisolone medicines

By: John Campbell/Flickr 

Prednisolone is a synthetic glucocorticoid. This means it acts almost exactly like a glucocorticoid naturally secreted in our body by the adrenal cortex. The uses of prednisolone include.

1. Treatment of Allergic Conditions:

Allergy is essentially your body’s immune system reacting to a substance it doesn’t like. ffcveThese include conditions like asthma, rheumatic arthritis, dermatitis, and so on. Drugs like prednisolone essentially control such allergic reactions.

2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease:

It is also a type of reactive condition that involves prolonged infection of the intestinal tract. Steroid drugs reduce the inflammatory reaction.

3. Autoimmune Disorders:

These are the group of diseases that are caused when the immune system mistakenly attacks its cells. This occurs when the immune cells are unable to differentiate between their cells and foreign cells.

4. Cancers:

For certain types and stages of cancer, the treatment may include steroid drugs such as prednisolone. It is helpful as it promotes slow growth of the tumor (s)

5. Prevent Organ Rejection:

When you undergo medical procedures such as organ transplantation, wherein a foreign tissue is continually in contact with your body, your immune system reacts to cause transplant rejection. Prednisolone is useful in preventing such a reaction.

6. Skin Diseases:

You may be prescribed topical prednisolone when you have chronic skin diseases such as eczema and other drugs and herbal products that do not work effectively.

7. Blood Disorders:

Treatment of acute and chronic blood disorders is treated using steroids such as prednisolone.

8. Eye Infections:

When presented with eye infections such as keratitis, your doctor may prescribe steroid eye drops.

9: Multiple Sclerosis:

It is a medical condition where the covering of the nerves of the body is eaten away. Taking prednisone and such steroids helps with the condition.

When Do They Prescribe Prednisolone?

When you present with any abnormalities mentioned above, or other disorders that aren’t relived on other medications, your doctor or pharmacist will prescribe prednisolone and such steroids.

You will first be prescribed a series of certain lab tests by your healthcare professional( including tests like skin tests), and depending on the results of the same, your doctor will prescribe a low dose of the drug.

You will be required to contact your doctor regularly, and depending on the medical condition you presented with, your doctor might gradually increase or decrease the dose.

Your healthcare professional will give you medical advice regarding the side effects and the adverse effects before prescribing the medicine.

You must talk to your doctor about your condition every step of the way towards your recovery.

Prednisolone and such steroids are not over-the-counter medications; therefore, your doctor’s approval and prescription are necessary to get the medicine.

If you present with an allergic reaction (symptoms of allergy to the medication), kindly call your doctor immediately, as you will require immediate medical attention.

How Does Prednisolone Work? How Does it Affect the Immune System?

Molecular structure

By: StudioMolekuul on Shutterstock

Prednisolone and such steroids work by reducing the activity of the immune system by preventing the formation of certain intermediate substances necessary for an immune reaction.

This means the final products necessary to produce effective immunity aren’t produced. Therefore the immune system is compressed.

This has both and negative impact on the body.

What is the Dosing of Prednisolone?

Prednisolone may be given as oral tablets, topical drops, topical creams, and Intravenous injections in some cases.

The oral tablets are usually of two forms:

Delayed-release tablet whole: This is the form that releases medicine for over a long period. This works like a storage store of the drug and releases it like our body would release hormones.

The only drawback of this type of tablet is that the drug and its effects persist in the body for a longer duration. Therefore it takes a long time for the body to excrete or metabolize the drug fully.

Topical drops: The concentrated solution of prednisolone drugs is useful in treating eye infections such as keratitis.

Topical creams: For long-standing severe skin infections such as eczema, topical steroid creams are prescribed.

What are the Side Effects of Prednisolone?

Prednisolone Side Effects: Top 7 Most Common Side Effects 1

Image from Shutterstock

Prednisolone side effects may range from severe acne to life-threatening conditions such as blood loss and breathlessness.

These prednisolone side effects vary from person to person based on their age, sex, race, genetic history, drug interactions with other medical conditions they may have, and their general health.

The most common prednisolone side effects are;

1. Opportunistic Infections:

Since it is a steroid medication, it reduces your immunity. Therefore, further opportunistic infections are one of the most common prednisolone side effects.

Infections such as candidiasis, sore throat, e-coli infection are common.

Tell your doctor immediately if you have had/ or still have active fungal infections.

2. Slow Wound Healing:

Again, since the steroids reduce your immunity, poor or slow wound healing is, unfortunately, one of the common prednisolone side effects. Your wounds may not heal as quickly and may be prone to secondary infections.

Please, tell your doctor immediately if you notice any whitish discoloration, pus discharge from your wound despite treatment.

3. Palpitations/Anxiety:

Irregular heartbeat and anxiety are some of the most common prednisolone side effects. They occur due to dosing issues.

Please tell your doctor immediately so that they may adjust the dosage accordingly.

4. Menstrual Period Changes:

In menstruating individuals, prednisolone tablets cause side effects such as mood changes, changes in the regular cycle of menstrual periods, fluid retention, and excessive facial hair growth.

Mood swings occur due to higher than normal body hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, progesterone, and estrogen.

Tell your doctor about such prednisolone side effects immediately, so he can provide medical advice about prednisolone side effects and their management if they haven’t already.

5. Insomnia and Unusual Tiredness:

Being a steroid medication, insomnia or sleeplessness and unusual tiredness are the most prominent prednisolone side effects. Prednisolone tablets may cause adrenal gland problems at higher doses.

This means the levels of adrenaline in the body are higher than the body’s normal levels.

Adrenal glands release a hormone called adrenaline that is commonly known as your fight or flight hormone.

This means your body is kept at a constant state of activity with no rest.

Tell your doctor immediately if you are facing such prednisolone side effects.

6. Acne:

Acne is a common skin condition of teenagers and young adults. Lesions characterize it due to clogging of pores. This is possibly the most common prednisolone side effect.

But these effects occur in the case of prednisolone medication as prednisolone causes changes in skin texture, thickness, and healing capacity, as mentioned before. So skin is more sensitive and more prone to acne.

7: High Blood Pressure, Uncontrolled Sugar Levels:

Since prednisolone is a steroid medication, it causes an increase in hormones like adrenaline, as mentioned above; this will lead to high blood pressure and increased breakdown of sugars, leading to uncontrolled glucose levels in the body.

This may also cause physical effects such as fluid retention causing edema. Talk to your doctor if you have such symptoms.

What are the Adverse Effects I Must Keep in Mind Regarding Prednisolone Tablets?

Prednisolone side effects are usually manageable and are not life-threatening or fatal. Still, the adverse effects are dangerous, and please call your doctor immediately if you present with any of the following symptoms:

1. Trouble Breathing:

If you have a shortness of breath despite mild exertion or regular activity, contact your healthcare provider immediately. This could be a sign of severe respiratory infection or even respiratory failure.

2. Pregnancy:

If you happen to conceive during steroid therapy, please call your doctor immediately as steroids such as prednisolone affect the unborn baby, cause congenital abnormalities. And these effects persist in the baby for a lifetime.

If you have already given birth and are consequently on steroid therapy, contact your child’s doctor regarding the breastfeeding practices and health solutions for your baby.

3. Blurred Vision:

Conditions associated with vision problems such as halos around your vision, tunnel vision, eye pain, and such effects must be attended to immediately. Tell your doctor if you are presented with such adverse effects.

4. Abnormal Stools:

If you have bloody or dark tarry stools, if your stools are exhibit coffee grounds appearance, call your doctor immediately.

Coffee ground’s appearance is one of the characteristic side effects of blood loss and must be looked into immediately if it persists.

5. New, Unusual Pin:

Sudden or new pain in new places such as bone problems or bone pain, back pain, upset stomach, and disorientation need to be looked into immediately as such side effects may become adverse if not attended to within time.

6. Convulsions/Seizure:

Reach out to your doctor for medical advice on your existing medical conditions as interactions with steroids such as prednisolone may cause severe side effects such as worsening seizures if you already have a history of the same.

7. Uncontrolled Allergic Reaction:

Breathlessness, fever, disorientation, palpitations, tightness in the chest are the signs of an allergic reaction to the medication. If presented with such symptoms, it’s important to reach out to the emergency department of your nearest hospital.

Can I Stop Using Prednisolone if I Have Too Many Side Effects? Is a Missed Dose of Prednisolone Dangerous?

No. You cannot stop using prednisolone suddenly without the medical supervision of either your doctor or pharmacist, as it may cause withdrawal symptoms.

If you suffer from severe prednisolone side effects, your doctor will provide medical advice on its management.

If the prednisolone side effects persist, your doctor may start gradually tapering the dose of your medication to control the side effects and safely get you off the drug.

If you are on short-term therapy of prednisolone, missing a dose will not cause any severe side effects.

But, if you are on long-term steroid therapy, even missing one dose may cause your body to go into a shock.

This is because steroids, such as prednisolone work like hormones. This means they need to be given at a set time for the body to function normally. If this does not happen, the body may end up in shock.

Reach out to your doctor for medical advice to deal with prednisolone side effects.

How do I Prevent the Prednisolone Side Effects?

Request your doctor or pharmacist to provide medical advice about side effects, proper dosage, and timing of your medication.

Ensure you take your medication on time and follow the instructions well.

Mark every dose on a sheet of paper to ensure you take your next amount properly. Avoid missing a dose or taking a double dose.

This is the best way you can prevent any prednisolone side effects.

Also, remember to reach out to your nearest healthcare provider immediately if you present with any issues.

These were the common prednisolone side effects and their management. I hope you found this article useful.

Stay healthy. Stay happy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *