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Prednisone is a synthetic glucocorticoid frequently prescribed to reduce inflammation and suppress an overactive immune system. As a prodrug, it is converted into its active form, prednisolone, in the liver. This medication is available in various forms, including tablets (10 mg and 20 mg), liquids, and injections.

Prednisone is often used to treat a variety of conditions, ranging from autoimmune disorders to severe allergic reactions. Thanks to its potent anti-inflammatory properties, it effectively manages symptoms across different conditions. However, due to its potential side effects and drug interactions, prednisone should be prescribed carefully and monitored closely by healthcare professionals.

Aspect Details
Medication Class Corticosteroid, Steroid (Brand name: Deltasone)
Pharmacological Action Reduces inflammation and suppresses the immune system
Common Dosages Tablets (10 mg, 20 mg), liquid, injection
Common Uses
  • Autoimmune diseases (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, lupus)
  • Allergic reactions (e.g., asthma attacks)
  • Skin disorders (e.g., eczema, psoriasis)
  • Respiratory conditions (asthma, COPD)
  • Preventing transplant rejection
Short-Term Side Effects Weight gain, mood changes, elevated blood sugar, insomnia
Long-Term Side Effects Osteoporosis, cataracts, increased infection risk, muscle weakness
  • Alcohol: Increases gastrointestinal issues
  • Medications: Anticoagulants, antibiotics, NSAIDs
Availability Prescription only, not available over the counter
Conclusion Summary Effective for managing autoimmune and inflammatory conditions but requires careful dosing and monitoring

Pharmacological Classification and Action of Prednisone

Is prednisone a steroid? Yes, prednisone is a corticosteroid, a subclass of steroids. It works by reducing inflammation and suppressing the immune system. It should not be confused with antibiotics, as it doesn’t directly combat infections. A comparison of prednisone vs prednisolone shows that both are corticosteroids, but prednisolone is a metabolized form of prednisone.

Common Applications of Prednisone

Prednisone Side Effects

While prednisone can be highly effective, it is also associated with several side effects, particularly with long-term use:

Prednisone and Alcohol Interaction

The combination of prednisone and alcohol can increase the likelihood of gastrointestinal issues like stomach ulcers. Therefore, it’s crucial for patients to limit or avoid alcohol while on prednisone therapy.

Dosage of Prednisone

Understanding the correct dosage of prednisone is crucial for its effectiveness and safety. For acute conditions like asthma attacks or allergic reactions, a 5-day prednisone dosage might include taking a specific dose once daily, typically in the range of 20 to 60 mg per day, depending on the severity of the condition. For chronic conditions requiring long-term treatment, the dosage often begins higher and then tapers down gradually to minimize the risk of adrenal insufficiency. Healthcare professionals can adjust the dosage based on the patient’s response and potential side effects.

Prednisone uses include treatment for severe allergic reactions, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and as part of cancer therapy regimens. Is prednisone an antibiotic? No, it isn’t. Prednisone does not treat bacterial infections but manages inflammation and immune response.

Interactions with Other Medications

Besides combining prednisone and alcohol, which can increase gastrointestinal issues, prednisone may negatively interact with other medications like anticoagulants, certain antibiotics, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These interactions can either reduce prednisone’s effectiveness or exacerbate its side effects, such as bleeding or blood sugar changes. Patients must inform their doctors of all medications they are taking.

Availability and Purchasing Prednisone

While some may wonder if you can buy prednisone over the counter, it is not typically available without a prescription due to the risks associated with self-medication. If you intend to buy prednisone online, ensure the source is legitimate and requires a prescription. Some pharmacies may offer prednisone cheap, but patients must prioritize safety over cost.


Prednisone remains a valuable glucocorticoid for managing inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. Proper dosing, awareness of prednisone side effects, and understanding drug interactions significantly enhance therapy safety and effectiveness. Consulting a medical professional is crucial throughout the process to ensure the optimal dosage, minimize risks, and prevent complications.

Patients should be informed about short- and long-term side effects, prevention strategies, and safe discontinuation. Understanding and considering individual reactions to the medication, as well as interactions with other drugs, is vital to achieving optimal results.