For over 50 years, prednisone has been used to treat many different diseases, including asthma, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and various rheumatic diseases such as lupus, dermatomyositis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis, among others.
Prednisone often works very quickly, and has saved the lives of many people when used properly, safely and sparingly.
Prednisone is a steroid with strong anti-inflammatory effects that suppress the immune system.
Most important is the fact that prednisone may be given in many different forms. Prednisone comes as a tablet in many different milligram (mg) amounts (1mg or even 50mg) or as a liquid, such as Prelone (concentration of 15mg/5ml) or Pediapred (concentration of 5mg/5ml).
It is very important that you know the exact dose (milligram) of prednisone your child should receive. Many times the doctor will start with a relatively high dose of prednisone to get the disease under control rapidly.
Prednisone is best when taken with food. Prednisone can also be given intravenously (IV), topically (as a cream/ointment or eye drops), or even into a joint.
Prednisone is given with varying schedules. If you take prednisone once a day, take it first thing in the morning by 7:00 a.m. Taking it very early reduces possible side effects.
Sometimes prednisone may be given more than once a day, every other day, or even once a week. It is very important to stick with the schedule, and have your child take the prednisone at the exact same time, as instructed by your child's doctor. Never skip doses.
Marking your calendar, cell phone alarm reminders, pill boxes, or placing the prednisone next to your child's toothbrush may be helpful ways to help them remember to take the prednisone.
If your child's prednisone is switched from everyday to every other day, his or her dose may be increased by 2 ½ to three times the daily dose.
If your child is taking the liquid form of the medication, ask your pharmacist for a syringe to help your measure the dose accurately.
The side effects from prednisone are more common when higher doses of prednisone are used for prolonged periods of time.
This does not include every possible side effect of prednisone.
This includes never “running out” of prednisone, by calling your child's doctor for a prescription refill one week in advance.
Prednisone is similar to a hormone made in the body. Your body stops making this hormone, or makes fewer hormones, while your child is taking prednisone.
The doctor or nurse will instruct you when and how to decrease this medication slowly. If Prednisone is stopped abruptly, it can result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or shock (life threatening illness with low blood pressure).
Your child may require extra prednisone (“stress-dose steroids”) if your child's body is stressed by surgery, a serious infection, or serious injury while taking surgery and for one year after stopping prednisone. Some patients even wear a medication bracelet indicating that they are taking prednisone.
Call your child's doctor with any additional questions.