Prednisone review

Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid that can be taken orally, via pills or liquid suspension, or through intramuscular injections. It is a synthetic steroid hormone that mimics cortisol and is primarily used for its suppressive effect on inflammations and the immune system. It is used to treat severe asthma and allergies, systemic lupus, arthritis, kidney disorder, colitis and other inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. It is also as an immunosuppressant to prevent rejection in organ donation and as an antitumor drug.

If taken orally, take prednisone with food or water to avoid an upset stomach. If only a single dose is prescribed for you each day, take it before 9 in the morning.

Due to the various applications it is used on, dosage varies between condition and age. The initial dose may range between 5mg to 60mg each day and successive doses are adjusted according to the patient’s reaction to prednisone. Measurements of each dose must be exact. When taking prednisone in liquid suspension form, it is best to use a special measuring device rather than a regular tablespoon. The effects of corticosteroids may take days before maximum effect may be seen.

If prednisone therapy is prolonged then it is not advised to immediately stop the administration of the drug as the body will grow dependent on it. The adrenal glands would cease to produce its own cortisol due to this dependence so a gradual withdrawal is advised. Withdrawal process will depend on how long you underwent prednisone therapy.

You immune system may be weakened due to prednisone, so it is advised to stay away from people who have measles or chickenpox, as well as other infectious diseases. During treatment, take note of any persistent infections such as coughs, colds, sore throat etc. Also, live vaccines may be less effective during treatment due to the suppressed immune system so it is best to avoid vaccinations while taking prednisone.

Inform your doctor of any history of diabetes, bleeding disorders, high blood pressure, kidney problem, bone loss, previous disease, severe liver disease and stomach or intestinal problems. If you are experiencing stress due to surgery, injury or infection, your prednisone dosage may be temporarily increased to compensate for the lack of cortisol in your body. In elderly patients prednisone may aggravate bone loss through osteoporosis, while in children it may stunt their growth. Consult with a doctor to monitor these changes.

As with all corticosteroids, one of prednisone’s effects include an increase in blood glucose levels, so diabetic patients should take extra care when under prednisone treatment while patients already with high blood glucose should take care that this does not develop into diabetes.

Effects on your skin maybe seen in the form of acne, rashes or stretch marks but these are fairly minor side effects of the drug. More serious side effects include osteoporosis, severe depression and confusion, severe joint pain, high blood and glaucoma among others.

If symptoms of allergic reaction appear, such as itching, hives, difficulty in breathing and swelling then it is advised to seek medical attention at once.

Prednisone has the following structural formula:

Chemical structure of prednisone

• Molecular formula of prednisone is C21H26O5
• Chemical IUPAC Name is 17-hydroxy-17-(2-hydroxyacetyl)-10,13-dimethyl-7,8,9,10,12,13,14,15,16,17- decahydro-6H-cyclopenta[a]phenanthrene-3,11-dione
• Molecular weight is 358.428 g/mol
Prednisone available : 2.5mg tablets, 5mg tablets, 10mg tablets, 20mg tablets and 50mg tablets.

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