Prednisolone suppresses part of your immune system and reduces inflammation and swelling. Prednisolone tablets or liquid are used for many different diseases and conditions, including those below. Prednisolone may also be given by injection if you can't take it by mouth.
It's important that you don't stop taking prednisolone suddenly if you've been taking it every day for more than three weeks (sometimes less - your doctor will advise). Long-term use of prednisolone can stop your adrenal glands producing natural corticosteroids (this is called adrenal suppression), which means that your body becomes temporarily reliant on the medicine.
This can also happen after long-term use of prednisolone rectal preparations and after repeated joint injections. When it's time to stop treatment your dose should be reduced gradually, to allow your adrenal glands to start producing enough natural steroids again. Always follow the instructions given by your doctor or pharmacist.
If you need to take prednisolone for more than three weeks you will be given a blue steroid card that contains details about your treatment. Read it and carry it with you at all times. Show it to anyone who treats you (eg doctor, nurse, pharmacist, dentist, anaesthetist) because the effects that corticosteroids have on the body may affect other medical treatment you may be given.
If you have an accident the card contains information that could save your life. You should also show your steroid card to anyone who treats you for at least a year after you stop treatment with steroids.
What should I look out for when taking prednisolone?
Long courses of prednisolone may increase your susceptibility to infections and can also mask the symptoms of infections, making you think they are less serious than they are. So it's important to see your doctor if you get any signs of infection while you're using prednisolone.
If you've never had chickenpox you should avoid contact with people who have chickenpox or shingles while you're using prednisolone. You should also avoid contact with people who have measles. If you're exposed to these diseases either during treatment, or in the three months after stopping treatment, you should consult your doctor urgently. This is very important as these diseases can be life-threatening in people taking long courses of corticosteroids.
Corticosteroid treatment, especially with high doses, can sometimes cause changes in your mood and behaviour when you first start treatment and some people may experience confusion, irritability, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, mood changes or depression, or suffer from delusions and suicidal thoughts. In a few cases these problems have happened when stopping treatment.
It's important to let your doctor know if you notice any change in your mood or behaviour, particularly if you begin to feel depressed, or have any disturbing thoughts or feelings. Most of these problems go away if the dose is lowered or the medicine is stopped. However if problems do happen they might need treatment.
Can I drink alcohol with prednisolone?
It's usually fine to drink alcohol in moderation during treatment with prednisolone. Just be aware that high prednisolone doses or long-term use can carry a risk of causing stomach ulcers, and drinking alcohol above the daily recommended limit can increase this risk.
Can I drive while taking prednisolone?
Taking prednisolone is unlikely to affect your ability to drive, but if you do feel dizzy or sleepy after taking it then wait for this to wear off before driving.
Last updated: 31.10.2020
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