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What is Prednisolone?

By Lucinda Reynolds
Updated May 17, 2024
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Prednisolone is the generic name for a type of steroid medication. This drug is used to prevent the release of certain chemicals in the body that produce inflammation or allergic reactions. This medication is prescribed for numerous illnesses and diseases.

Before an individual begins taking prednisolone it is important that he let his doctor know about any other medications he is taking. This corticosteroid has a high risk for interacting with certain other medications. The doctor will be able to determine if it is safe to take this medication.

This type of steroid may be prescribed for conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma. Both of these breathing disorders produce inflammation of the lung tissues. Prednisolone can help reduce the swelling and inflammation that cause breathing difficulties.

Individuals who have autoimmune diseases may be prescribed prednisolone. An autoimmune disorder is a condition in which the body's immune system is in overdrive and attacking healthy body tissue. This oral steroid can treat the symptoms of autoimmune disorders by suppressing the body's immune system to keep it from attacking healthy tissue.

There are many side effects associated with this type of steroid. Abdominal pain and nausea with or without vomiting may occur. It is best to eat small frequent meals while taking this medication to prevent gastrointestinal upset. Chewing gum or eating sugar-free candy can also help keep these side effects under control.

One of the most common side effects of prednisolone is an increased appetite and weight gain. This type of medication can change the way the body fat is distributed throughout the body. Many individuals who are on long-term steroid therapy will develop a round face and notice a significant weight gain. These individuals may also notice an increase in blood sugar levels.

When an individual is taking prednisolone he must be careful to avoid others who are sick. This steroid weakens the body's immune system and makes it much easier to catch a contagious illness. It will also make it harder for the individual to fight off any existing infections.

A few signs and symptoms of a severe reaction to this steroid are wheezing, swelling of the face or tongue, or severe shortness of breath. These symptoms are life-threatening and immediate medical treatment must be given. Less severe side effects that aren't usually life-threatening but should be addressed as soon as possible can include a fever, chills, sore throat, and severe nausea with vomiting. Prednisolone must never be stopped abruptly. The dosage should be tapered down over time to avoid any adverse reactions.

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Discussion Comments
By KaBoom — On Aug 09, 2012

Wow, I had no idea you could have a reaction to prednisolone or any of the other oral steroids in that class. They're often given to people who have had a severe allergic reaction, but it sounds like you can actually have an allergic reaction to prednisolone too. How scary!

By indemnifyme — On Aug 08, 2012

I've taken various oral steroids in the past, including prednisolone and prednizone. I've found that the longer I'm on these drugs, the more likely I am to experience side effects.

For instance, I took prednisolone for two weeks once, and I was pretty much OK. But once I had to take a longer course, and I did experience some weight gain. Luckily I wasn't on it long enough to develop the "moon face," but I have known other people that have had this problem.

As someone else said, you kind of have to weigh the benefits and disadvantages when you're on medications like this. Yes, the side effects are kind of terrible, but it can be a lot worse if you don't take the medication.

By dautsun — On Aug 08, 2012

@ceilingcat - That's interesting. I've taken prednisolone for an allergic reaction before, and I actually didn't have any side effects. However, I did end up getting really sick because I accidentally went near someone who had the flu. Usually I don't get sick that easily, but since my immune system was already lowered, I was pretty much a goner that time!

By ceilingcat — On Aug 07, 2012

I have taken 200mg prednisolone for my asthma a few times. I actually experienced one side effect that wasn't listed here: I felt very, very anxious. From what I've read, there's a small chance of this happening. And for me it was a lot more likely.

I have an anxiety disorder, so any medication that can possibly cause anxiety usually makes me feel really anxious. Unfortunately, I really needed the prednisolone, so I just had to deal with it. But it was easier at least knowing why I was feeling so anxious.

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