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What Factors Affect a Sufficient Cortisone Dose?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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A cortisone dose is highly individualized to the patient to ensure that the lowest possible effective dose is provided, limiting the risk of side effects. This steroid medication is used in the management of a wide range of conditions, including skin inflammation, low levels of natural hormones in the body, and cancer care. The patient’s condition is one important factor in dosing, along with medical history, weight, and how the patient responds to the drug. Medical professionals work closely with their patients on a cortisone dose and may recommend monitoring throughout treatment.

Standard doses can range from 25 to 300 milligrams per day, typically given in divided doses. The starting dose is usually low if the patient’s condition is mild, and can be increased if the patient doesn’t respond. Lower doses are an option if the patient might benefit, and it is also possible to go higher than 300 milligrams in some cases. A cortisone dose may taper up over time to give the patient time to adjust to the medication.

People with liver or kidney impairment may need a cortisone dose adjustment. They cannot safely take a standard dose because they aren’t able to metabolize the medication as efficiently. A medical professional may recommend starting at a very low dose and monitoring the response. If the patient does well, it can slowly be increased to an effective level, or backed down if the patient’s liver or kidneys start to become stressed by the medication.

Potential drug interactions can be another factor in a cortisone dose. Patients should discuss their medical history and make their doctors aware of any and all medications they take, including over the counter drugs. These can help determine an appropriate dose. It may be necessary to temporarily stop, switch, or change doses on existing medications to avoid a bad interaction with cortisone. Side effects during therapy should also be noted, including issues like mood changes, weight gain, and thinning skin that might indicate a bad reaction to the medication.

Patients taking cortisone for more than a few days need to be careful when they stop. If they abruptly stop taking it, they can develop complications, because the body is accustomed to the supplemental cortisone and may have stopped producing its own. The cortisone dose needs to be slowly tapered down to allow the patient to recover. It is important to avoid running out of the drug, and if patients have concerns about the cost of finishing therapy, a doctor may be able to provide a sample or drug discount card to help the patient afford enough medication to safely taper down.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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