Generic Name: prednisone, Oral tablet

Deltasone,Predone,Sterapred,Sterapred DS

All Brands

  • Deltasone
  • Predone
  • Sterapred
  • Sterapred DS
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for prednisone

Oral tablet
1

Oral prednisone is used to reduce inflammation in many parts of your body. It’s used to treat a variety of conditions.

2

This medication can weaken your immune system, which may make you more susceptible to infections.

3

You shouldn’t receive live vaccines while you’re taking prednisone. The vaccines may lead to infection.

4

Take prednisone with food to avoid upset stomach.

5

You may need more monitoring or may need a different drug if you have certain health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart, kidney, liver, or eye problems.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

May weaken your immune system

A weakened immune system makes you more susceptible to infections. Avoid being near people who are sick or have recently been sick, especially with chicken pox or measles. These infections can be more serious or fatal in people who have had them before and who have lowered immunity due to this drug. Tell your doctor about any recent infections or if you develop any symptoms of an infection, such as fever, chills, or body aches.

Live vaccine warning

Don’t receive live vaccines while taking prednisone. If you receive a live vaccine while, your immune system might not be able to handle it properly. This may lead to an infection.

Drug Features

Prednisone is a prescription drug. It’s available in these forms: oral tablet, oral solution, oral solution concentrate, oral delayed-release tablet.

Prednisone is available in its generic form. The oral regular-release tablet is available as a generic. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the generic will work for you.

Why It's Used

Prednisone is used to help decrease inflammation in many parts of your body.

More Details

How It Works

Prednisone is a steroid drug that reduces inflammation in your body. It also lowers your immune system by interfering with chemicals that normally cause inflammation.

Why It's Used

Prednisone is used to help decrease inflammation in many parts of your body.

It’s approved to treat:

  • endocrine disorders
  • rheumatic disorders:
    • osteoarthritis
    • rheumatoid arthritis
    • bursitis
  • multiple sclerosis
  • skin diseases
    • psoriasis
    • dermatitis
  • allergies and asthma
  • eye diseases:
    • ulcer
    • inflammation
    • optic neuritis
  • lung diseases
  • blood disorders:
    • anemia
    • low platelet count (thrombocytopenia)
  • symptoms of lymphoma or leukemia
  • lupus and nephrotic syndrome
  • stomach diseases:
    • colitis
SECTION 2 of 4

prednisone Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with prednisone include:

  • confusion

  • excitement

  • restlessness

  • headache

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • thinning skin or acne

  • trouble sleeping

  • weight gain

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • severe allergic reactions, including:

    • skin rash
    • itching or hives
    • swelling of your lips, face, or tongue
  • changes in emotions or moods, including depression

  • changes in vision

  • eye pain
  • infection. Signs may include:

    • fever or chills
    • cough
    • sore throat
    • difficulty or pain in passing urine
  • high blood sugar. Signs include:

    • increased thirst
    • passing urine more often
    • feeling sleepy or confused
  • swelling of your ankles or feet
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Mild side effects may disappear within a few days. Talk to your doctor or your pharmacist if they’re bothersome or don’t go away.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

prednisone May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Prednisone can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Mifepristone

Taking this drug and prednisone together may prevent prednisone from working correctly. Avoid taking mifepristone if you’ve been taking prednisone regularly for a long time.

Bupropion

This drug may cause seizures when it’s used with prednisone.

Haloperidol

Taking this drug may cause heart rhythm problems when it’s used with prednisone.

Live vaccines

Taking prednisone lowers your immune system. If you receive a live vaccine while taking prednisone, your immune system might not be able to handle it properly. This may lead to an infection.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with infections

Taking prednisone lowers your immune system and can make an infection you already have worse. It also increases your risk for coming down with a new infection.

People with heart or kidney disease

Prednisone may make you retain salt and water, which can raise your blood pressure.

People with diabetes

Prednisone can increase your blood sugar level. You might need to monitor your blood sugar level more closely. If it goes up too much, your doses of diabetes medications might need to be changed.

Pregnant women

The delayed-release tablet (Rayos) is a category D pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Studies show a risk of adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. This drug should only be used during pregnancy in serious cases where it's needed to treat a dangerous condition in the mother.

The oral tablet and solution forms of prednisone are category C pregnancy drugs. For this category:

  1. Research in animals has shown harmful effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Prednisone should only be used during pregnancy if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Women who are nursing

Prednisone can be passed through breast milk. No side effects were seen in infants exposed to prednisone through breast milk.

For Seniors

As you age, your kidneys, liver, and heart may not work as well. Prednisone is processed in your liver and removed from your body through your kidneys. It makes these organs work extra hard. If you’re an older adult, you may be started on a low dose and may have your dose increased slowly.

For Children

Children might not grow as tall if they take prednisone for a long time (for example, for several months). Your child’s doctor should monitor your child’s growth rate.

Allergies

Prednisone can cause a severe allergic reaction, causing symptoms like:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives

Don’t take this drug if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal.

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take prednisone (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Endocrine disorders

Brand: Deltasone

Form: Oral Tablet
Strength: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 50 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day taken once per day, depending on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary based on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • Dosage for children is usually based on weight.
  • Your doctor will determine the best dose for your child.
Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Rheumatic disorders

Brand: Deltasone

Form: Oral Tablet
Strength: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 50 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • The initial dose may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day taken once per day, depending on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary based on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • Dosage for children is usually based on weight.
  • Your doctor will determine the best dose for your child.
Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Multiple sclerosis

Brand: Deltasone

Form: Oral Tablet
Strength: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 50 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • If you have a sudden return or worsening of your symptoms, you may need to take 200 mg once per day for 1 week.
  • This dose may then be reduced to 80 mg taken once per day every other day for 1 month.
Child Dosage (ages 1-17 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary based on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • Dosage for children is usually based on weight.
  • Your doctor will determine the best dose for your child.
Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Skin diseases

Brand: Deltasone

Form: Oral Tablet
Strength: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 50 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day taken once per day, depending on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary based on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • Dosage for children is usually based on weight.
  • Your doctor will determine the best dose for your child.
Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Allergies and asthma

Brand: Deltasone

Form: Oral Tablet
Strength: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 50 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day taken once per day, depending on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary based on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • Dosage for children is usually based on weight.
  • Your doctor will determine the best dose for your child.
Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Eye diseases

Brand: Deltasone

Form: Oral Tablet
Strength: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 50 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day taken once per day, depending on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary based on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • Dosage for children is usually based on weight.
  • Your doctor will determine the best dose for your child.
Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Lung diseases

Brand: Deltasone

Form: Oral Tablet
Strength: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 50 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day taken once per day, depending on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary based on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • Dosage for children is usually based on weight.
  • Your doctor will determine the best dose for your child.
Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Blood disorders

Brand: Deltasone

Form: Oral Tablet
Strength: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 50 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day taken once per day, depending on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary based on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • Dosage for children is usually based on weight.
  • Your doctor will determine the best dose for your child.
Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Lymphoma and leukemia

Brand: Deltasone

Form: Oral Tablet
Strength: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 50 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day taken once per day, depending on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary based on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • Dosage for children is usually based on weight.
  • Your doctor will determine the best dose for your child.
Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Lupus and nephrotic syndrome

Brand: Deltasone

Form: Oral Tablet
Strength: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 50 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day taken once per day depending on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary based on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • Dosage for children is usually based on weight.
  • Your doctor will determine the best dose for your child.
Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Stomach diseases

Brand: Deltasone

Form: Oral Tablet
Strength: 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 50 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day taken once per day, depending on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)
  • The initial dosage may vary based on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • Dosage for children is usually based on weight.
  • Your doctor will determine the best dose for your child.
Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Prednisone comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If You Stop Taking It Suddenly

Don’t stop taking prednisone abruptly without speaking with your doctor first. You may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • muscle pains
  • joint pains
  • overall discomfort and uneasiness (malaise)

What To Do If You Miss a Dose

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s close to the next dose, skip the dose and take it at your next regularly scheduled time.

Don’t take extra doses to make up for the missed dose.

How to Tell If the Drug Is Working

You may experience less pain and swelling if the drug is working. There are different signs to show prednisone is effective, depending on your disease. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about whether or not this medication is working.

Is It a Short-Term or Long-Term Drug?

How long you take this medication is based on your disease and response to treatment.

Take in the morning if you take it once per day

If you take doses more than once per day, space them evenly throughout the day.

Don’t cut or crush the delayed-release tablet

The delayed-release (Rayos) action requires the coating to stay intact.

You can cut or crush the regular-release tablet (Deltasone and generic).

Store in temperatures from 59–86°F (15–30ºC)

Keep the container tightly closed and away from light and moisture.

Note: Keep your medications away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store them away from moisture and damp locations.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry it with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • X-ray machines won’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show the preprinted label from your pharmacy to identify the medicine. Keep the original prescription-labeled bottle with you when traveling.

Clinical Monitoring

Your doctor may do tests to check your health and make sure the drug is working and is safe for you. They include:

  • blood tests, such as blood sugar levels. Prednisone can increase your blood sugar level and increase your risk of diabetes.
  • bone density tests. Prednisone can increase your risk for bone loss and weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis).
  • eye tests. Prednisone can increase pressure inside your eyes.

Your Diet

Steroids like prednisone control the amount of water and salts in your body. In large doses, prednisone can cause your body to retain salt or to lose potassium. Your doctor may recommend changes to your diet to manage this side effect.

What does the pill look like?

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Are There Any Alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.


Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on April 20, 2015

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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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