1. Prednisone oral tablet is available as a generic drug and a brand-name drug. Brand name: Rayos.
  2. Prednisone comes as an immediate-release tablet, a delayed-release tablet, and a liquid solution. You take all of these forms by mouth.
  3. Prednisone oral tablet helps reduce inflammation (swelling and irritation) in the body. It’s used to treat a range of conditions, including multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Immune system effects warning:
    • Prednisone may weaken your immune system. A weakened immune system makes you more likely to get infections. Avoid being near people who are sick or have recently been sick, especially with chickenpox or measles. These infections can be serious or deadly 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 vaccines warning: Don’t receive live vaccines while taking prednisone in high doses. If you do, your immune system might not be able to handle the vaccine properly. This may lead to an infection. If you’re not sure if a vaccine is a live vaccine, ask your doctor.

Prednisone is a prescription steroid drug. It comes as an immediate-release tablet, a delayed-release tablet, and a liquid solution. You take all of these forms by mouth.

Prednisone delayed-release tablet is available as a generic drug and as the brand-name drug Rayos. The immediate-release tablet is only available as a generic drug.

Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in all strengths or forms as the brand-name drug.

Why it’s used

Prednisone reduces inflammation in your body. It’s approved to treat:

How it works

Prednisone works by weakening your immune system. This action blocks chemicals that normally cause inflammation as part of your body’s immune response, and can help decrease inflammation in many parts of your body.

Prednisone oral tablet doesn’t cause drowsiness but can cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects that can occur with prednisone include:

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

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.

Prednisone oral tablet can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with prednisone are listed below.

Mifepristone

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

Bupropion

Taking bupropion with prednisone may cause seizures.

Haloperidol

Taking haloperidol with prednisone may cause heart rhythm problems.

Live vaccines

Taking prednisone weakens 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.

Drugs to treat diabetes

Taking prednisone with drugs that treat diabetes may result in an increase in your blood glucose levels and problems controlling your diabetes. Examples of these drugs include:

  • sulfonylureas such as glipizide or glyburide
  • biguanides such as metformin
  • thiazolidinediones such as pioglitazone or rosiglitazone
  • acarbose
  • metiglinides such as nateglinide or repaglinide

Warfarin

Taking warfarin with prednisone may reduce the blood-thinning effect of warfarin. If you take these drugs together, your doctor may monitor your treatment with warfarin closely.

Digoxin

Taking digoxin with prednisone may cause heart rhythm problems.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Taking NSAIDs with prednisone may increase your risk of stomach issues such as ulcers and bleeding. Examples of NSAIDs include:

  • piroxicam
  • ibuprofen
  • flurbiprofen
  • naproxen
  • meloxicam
  • sulindac

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’re taking.

This drug comes with several warnings.

Allergic reaction warning

Prednisone oral tablet can cause a serious allergic reaction in some people. This reaction can cause a skin rash, which can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your face, tongue, or throat
  • red, itchy rash that affects one or more patches of skin

If you develop these symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

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

Warnings for people with certain health conditions

For people with infections: Taking prednisone weakens your immune system and can worsen an infection you already have. It also increases your risk of getting a new infection.

For people with heart or kidney disease: Prednisone may make you retain salt and water, which can raise your blood pressure.

For 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 dosage of diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Warnings for other groups

For 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 pregnancy 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.

For the immediate-release tablet, there haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the pregnancy.

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

For women who are breastfeeding: Talk with your doctor before taking prednisone if you’re breastfeeding. Prednisone can be passed through breast milk. High doses of prednisone can interfere with your child’s growth and development.

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 that is increased slowly.

For children: Children might not grow as tall if they take prednisone for several months. Your child’s doctor should monitor your child’s growth rate.

This dosage information is for prednisone oral tablet. All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

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

Dosage for endocrine disorders

Generic: Prednisone

  • Form: immediate-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 50 mg
  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For the immediate-release tablets only: 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)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

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 a different dosing schedule.

Dosage for rheumatic disorders

Generic: Prednisone

  • Form: immediate-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 50 mg
  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: 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)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

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 a different schedule.

Dosage for multiple sclerosis exacerbations

Generic: Prednisone

  • Form: immediate-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 50 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

For immediate-release tablets only: If you have a sudden return or worsening of your MS symptoms, you may need to take 200 mg once per day for one week. This dosage may then be reduced to 80 mg once per day every other day for one month.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

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 a different schedule.

Dosage for skin diseases

Generic: Prednisone

  • Form: immediate-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 50 mg
  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: 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)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

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 a different schedule.

Dosage for allergies and asthma

Generic: Prednisone

  • Form: immediate-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 50 mg
  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: 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)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

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 a different schedule.

Dosage for eye diseases

Generic: Prednisone

  • Form: immediate-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 50 mg
  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: 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)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

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 a different schedule.

Dosage for lung diseases

Generic: Prednisone

  • Form: immediate-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 50 mg
  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: 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)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

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 a different schedule.

Dosage for blood disorders

Generic: Prednisone

  • Form: immediate-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 50 mg
  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: 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)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

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 a different schedule.

Dosage for lymphoma and leukemia

Generic: Prednisone

  • Form: immediate-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 50 mg
  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: 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)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

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 a different schedule.

Dosage for lupus and nephrotic syndrome

Generic: Prednisone

  • Form: immediate-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 50 mg
  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: 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)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

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 a different schedule.

Dosage for stomach diseases

Generic: Prednisone

  • Form: immediate-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 50 mg
  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day taken once per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: 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)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

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 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 speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

How long you take prednisone oral tablet is based on your condition and your body’s response to treatment. This drug comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug or don’t take it at all: Your symptoms won’t be treated and may get worse. Don’t stop taking prednisone abruptly without speaking with your doctor first. You may experience withdrawal symptoms (see “Q&A” below).

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule: Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much: You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • burning or itching skin
  • seizures
  • deafness
  • high blood pressure
  • muscle weakness

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or seek guidance from the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 1-800-222-1222 or through their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

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 should experience less pain and swelling. There are also other signs that show that prednisone is effective, depending on the condition being treated. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about whether this medication is working.

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes prednisone for you.

General

  • Take this drug with food to prevent upset stomach.
  • If you take this medication once per day, take in the morning. If you take it more than once per day, space your doses out evenly throughout the day.
  • Don’t cut or crush the delayed-release tablet (Rayos). The coating must stay intact for the delayed-release action to work. However, you can cut or crush the immediate-release tablet.

Clinical monitoring

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

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

Storage

  • Store this drug at a temperature between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).
  • Keep the container tightly closed and away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They won’t damage your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled container with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Your diet

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

Alternatives

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

Q:

Can I experience withdrawal from prednisone?

A:

If you stop taking prednisone oral tablet suddenly, you could experience withdrawal symptoms. This typically happens if you’ve taken the drug for longer than three weeks. However, it could happen even if you’ve taken it for a short time.

Symptoms of prednisone withdrawal can include:

•  tiredness

•  decreased appetite

•  nausea and vomiting

•  muscle pains

•  joint pains

•  malaise (overall discomfort and uneasiness)

Don’t stop taking prednisone without talking to your doctor first. They can help prevent withdrawal by slowly tapering you off of the drug. For more information, read this article on prednisone withdrawal.

The Healthline Medical TeamAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

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.