Prednisone is a steroid that works by changing how your immune system works. It is a pill that you will take by mouth each morning.

Side effects of prednisone

  • High pressure in the eye (glaucoma)
  • Leg swelling
  • Higher blood sugar (worsening diabetes) 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Mood swings
  • Weight gain
  • Trouble sleeping

Long term side effects of prednisone

  • Cataracts
  • High blood sugar (causing or worsening diabetes) 
  • Higher risk of infections
  • Slow wound healing
  • Loss of calcium from your bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis) 
  • More bruising than normal 
  • Menstrual irregularities

Prednisone dosage instructions

If you are taking more than 20 mg of prednisone each day for more than one month you should take extra precaution. Start taking 1200 mg calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D each day, unless you have been told not to by a doctor. Talk with your doctor before getting live vaccines, such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), nasal flu mist, varicella, Zostavax (shingles), yellow fever, typhoid, and live poliovirus. Get a flu shot each year, unless you have been told not to by your doctor.

Last reviewed: 
August 2018

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