Prednisone is a prescription drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat several conditions including rheumatoid arthritis. Prednisone is used to control pain, swelling, and stiffness and to inhibit disease progression. Prednisone may be prescribed to control acute flare-ups or for short periods until disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as methotrexate can take effect.
Prednisone is a corticosteroid, a type of steroid hormone that suppresses immune system response. Prednisone is believed to work by inhibiting or blocking chemical messengers that cause inflammatory responses in the body.
How do I take it?
Corticosteroids may be administered orally or injected into joints. Prednisone is usually taken orally as a tablet or solution once or more times daily, or every other day. If injected into joints, prednisone should not be administered more than once every three or four months.
If you decide to stop taking oral prednisone, it is important to tell your doctor and follow a schedule to taper off your dosage. Do not suddenly stop taking oral prednisone.
Lower doses carry less risk of serious side effects. Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Prednisone.
Side effects of prednisone can include fluid retention, changes in blood sugar level tolerance, high blood pressure, behavioral and mood changes, increased appetite, and weight gain.
Rare but serious side effects listed for corticosteroids include high blood sugar levels, a disorder of blood cortisol levels called Cushing’s syndrome, changes in blood electrolyte levels, stomach and intestinal damage, reduced bone density, osteoporosis, eye disorders including cataracts and glaucoma, and fetal harm.
People taking prednisone or other corticosteroids are more susceptible to infections due to suppression of the immune system. Avoid exposure to people who are sick and wash hands frequently while taking prednisone.
Like all corticosteroids, prednisone can cause psychological side effects such as mood swings, aggression, agitation, and nervousness. Notify your doctor if these changes become intense or difficult to manage.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Prednisone — Arthritis Society
6 Common Questions About Taking Prednisone for Rheumatoid Arthritis — Creakyjoints.org