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Medications > Prednisone > Prednisone – pictopamphlet


How to use this medication

What is it

Prednisone is a steroid hormone. It is very similar to a hormone called cortisone, which is produced by your adrenal glands.  Prednisone is used to treat many types of arthritis.

Take it once a day

Prednisone is usually taken once a day in the morning. Sometimes your doctor may ask you to take prednisone every other day and sometimes even two to three times a day.

What you need to do

Watch how much you eat

Prednisone can increase your appetite.  This may cause you to gain weight.

Be careful with infection

Prednisone can make it harder for you to fight infections. Call your doctor if you have a fever or think you have an infection.

Call if you have sudden groin pain

Call your doctor right away if you develop new severe pain in the groin.  This is a very rare side effect of prednisone (avascular necrosis).

Watch your bones

When taken for long periods of time prednisone can cause you to lose calcium from the bones. If this is severe it could result in osteoporosis.  Your doctor will tell you how to protect your bones.

Do not stop suddenly

Prednisone needs to be gradually reduced.  Stopping prednisone too quickly can sometimes result in serious side-effects. Call your doctor before making any changes in your dose.

Side effects & important things to know


Prednisone can sometimes upset the stomach with nausea or indigestion. Taking it with food or milk can help this.

Blood pressure & fluid retention

Prednisone can sometimes cause an increase in blood pressure.  It can also cause fluid retention (swollen ankles & feet). Your doctor will monitor this.

Blood sugars

Prednisone can sometimes cause a rise in blood sugars. In some people this can result in diabetes. Your doctor will monitor this through blood tests.

Blurry vision & cataracts

When used in high doses, prednisone can cause blurry vision. When used for long periods of time, prednisone can cause cataracts.

Skin changes

When used for long periods of time, prednisone can thin the skin and can cause bruising. Cuts might take longer to heal. Prednisone can cause acne or more hair growth.

Sleep trouble & increased energy

Prednisone can make you feel full of energy.  This can sometimes make it difficult to sleep.

When should I call my doctor

Please call if you need to stop

  • If you feel sick and want to stop
  • If you are concerned about any side effects
  • If you want to or have already stopped the medicine

Other Reasons to Call your Doctor:

New severe groin pain

Fever or think you have an infection

Blurry vision

Pregnant or Planning Pregnancy

If you are having surgery

Other important information

Calcium & vitamin D

Prednisone can weaken the bones. It is important to take extra calcium and vitamin D. Your doctor will tell you how much you need. Sometimes your doctor will prescribe a  “bone hardener” medicine while you are taking prednisone.