|Type of medicine||Corticosteroid|
|Used for||To help control inflammatory and allergic conditions such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and colitis|
|Available as||Tablets, enteric-coated tablets (these are also known as gastro-resistant tablets), soluble tablets, and injection|
Certain cells in the body release chemicals which cause inflammation. Prednisolone works by stopping the release of these chemicals, therefore reducing inflammation.
Before taking prednisolone
Before taking prednisolone make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have high blood pressure.
- If you have had a heart attack or have other heart problems.
- If you have liver or kidney problems.
- If you or anyone in your family has diabetes mellitus or glaucoma.
- If you have osteoporosis (weakened bones).
- If you have thyroid problems.
- If you have any problems with your eyes.
- If you have ever had mental health problems such as depression.
- If you have epilepsy.
- If you have had a stomach ulcer.
- If you have ever experienced muscle pain after taking steroids.
- If you have recently had, or are about to have any vaccinations.
- If you have ever had tuberculosis (TB).
- If you or anyone you are in close contact with has chickenpox, measles or shingles.
- If you have ever had blood clots in your arteries or veins.
- If you have myasthenia gravis (a condition causing muscle weakness).
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine.
How to take prednisolone
- Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack.
- Always follow the instructions given to you by your doctor.
- Your dose of prednisolone may consist of several tablets. This will be written clearly on the label or the instructions you have been given. Unless you have been told otherwise, take this dose all together with your breakfast.
- Take prednisolone tablets with food unless you have been prescribed the enteric-coated (red or brown) tablets. The enteric-coated tablets may be taken before or after food.
- If you have been given enteric-coated prednisolone, swallow these tablets whole. Do not chew or crush them. You should avoid taking indigestion remedies at the same time as enteric-coated prednisolone as these can interfere with the special coating on your tablets.
- If you have been given soluble prednisolone tablets, you must dissolve or mix these in water before swallowing them.
- If you have been taking prednisolone for more than 3 weeks, do not stop your treatment suddenly. If you need to stop taking prednisolone, speak with your doctor who will advise you on how to reduce your dose gradually.
- You need to take prednisolone regularly to get the maximum benefit, so try take your doses at the same time each day to avoid missing any doses.
- If you do forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Keep your regular appointments with your doctor so your progress can be monitored.
- Long courses of prednisolone can make you more likely to catch infections, therefore if you become ill or 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. This is a blue card which contains some important advice for you, so please read it carefully. It also contains details about your dose, duration of treatment, and who prescribed it for you.
- Before having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking prednisolone and show them your treatment card.
- While you are taking prednisolone do not have any vaccinations without speaking with your doctor first.
Can prednisolone cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common side-effects||What can I do if I experience this|
|Abdominal pain, indigestion, feeling sick||Eat little and often. Stick to simple or bland foods. If this becomes troublesome or continues, speak with your doctor|
|Increased appetite||Try to maintain a well-balanced diet|
|Dizziness, tiredness||If this happens, make sure your reactions are normal before driving, operating machinery or doing any other jobs which could be dangerous if you were not fully alert|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, speak with your doctor|
|Oral thrush||See your doctor who may prescribe some lozenges for you|
|Mood changes, changes in thoughts and behaviour, sleeping difficulties, confusion, blurred vision, muscle weakness, and changes in the menstrual cycle in women||If you experience any of these, discuss them with your doctor|
|Long-term treatment with high doses of prednisolone may cause other unwanted effects||If you have any symptoms which cause concern, you should arrange to see your doctor|
Important: prednisolone may cause mood or behaviour changes especially at the beginning of your treatment or if you are taking a high dose. If you become confused, irritable or start having worrying thoughts about harming yourself, speak with your doctor as soon as possible.
How to store prednisolone
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 60th Edition (September 2010) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Deltacortril® gastro-resistant tablets; Manufacturer's PIL, Deltacortril® gastro-resistant tablets, Alliance Pharmaceuticals, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated August 2010.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Prednisolone Tablets 1mg, 5mg (Actavis UK Ltd); Manufacturer's PIL, Prednisolone Tablets 1mg, 5mg (Actavis UK Ltd), Actavis UK Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2008.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen|
|Last Checked: 20/04/2011||Document ID: 1473 Version: 26||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.