Prednisone is a corticosteroid used in the therapy of various autoimmune disorders. We’ll tell you about the safety of this drug, its contraindications, and its side effect. Prednisone use during the COVID-19 infection is also covered.
Prednisone: Side Effects, Contraindications, Interactions. Use in COVID-19 Patients
Every year, people in the United States get more than 22.5 million prescriptions for Prednisone. This medication is among top-30 most often prescribed drugs, and it’s all due to its high effectiveness in soothing pain and inflammation related to rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, pericarditis, and dozen other diseases that spoil the life of millions of people. Aside from the autoimmune disorders, Prednisone also tends to be effective for migraine headaches and different types of cancer. In fact, the uses of this medication are so diverse that it’s hard to believe a single medication to be able to bring so much benefit.
But when there are the benefits, there are the drawbacks. Prednisone use bears multiple health risks. Some side effects of this medication are irreversible. When making a decision in favor of Prednisone therapy, it’s crucial to know about all the possible risks waiting ahead.
Prednisone in Detail. What Kind of Drug Is It?
Prednisone is a corticosteroid producing a systemic anti-inflammatory effect. This is a prodrug, which means it has to be metabolized by the liver to prednisolone before it can come into effect. Prednisone suppresses the immune system, thus reducing its response to allergens and soothing the inflammation that comes from autoimmune disorders.
This preparation is used to treat allergic reactions, including the reactions of hypersensitivity, skin diseases, breathing disorders, and many more.
Contraindications to Prednisone. Reasons to Refuse Treatment
The intake of Prednisone should be agreed upon with your healthcare provider. This medication is available by prescription only. You should talk to a doctor to figure out if you have any contraindications to its use. Here’s what is important to mention for your doctor to make the right decision:
– an allergy to prednisolone or excipients of the medication (please note that different formulations may have different additives, so read the drug composition attentively);
– ongoing infection (especially systemic fungal infection);
– high blood pressure;
– gastrointestinal perforation;
– psychosis, depression, mood swings, other mental health disorders;
– glaucoma, cataracts, other eye diseases, etc.
There is enough evidence of Prednisone harming an unborn baby if used during the first trimester of pregnancy.
The intake of Prednisone can make you more prone to getting infected. The drug can also mask the symptoms of infections, so you have to be very careful, especially now, in the pandemic.
Prednisone and the Novel Coronavirus Infection
After the beginning of the pandemic, some people considered the use of Prednisone another risk factor for catching the infection. While there is no information regarding the role of this drug in catching the infection, the National Institute of Health claims the medication helps reduce the number of death in people hospitalized for the coronavirus disease. In particular, this can be referred to individuals requiring supplemental oxygen. This is explained by the corticosteroids mitigating the systemic inflammatory response in such patients.
Medicines to Avoid. Prednisone Interactions
The safety of treatment with Prednisone can be compromised if you use it along with other drugs. You should be careful taking the following medicines together with Prednisone as they may influence each other’s effects, leading to side effects and a lack of efficacy in some cases.
– anticoagulants (like warfarin, heparin);
– drugs to treat diabetes (glimepiride, metformin);
– CYP3A inducers (rifampin, phenytoin, phenobarbital);
– CYP3A inhibitors (ketoconazole, erythromycin);
– NSAIDS (ibuprofen, aspirin).
Unwanted Reactions. What to Expect?
People taking Prednisone may experience a wide range of unwanted reactions. Yet this doesn’t mean you’ll have all of them. The reactions people report most common are:
– fluid retention;
– elevation of blood pressure;
– mood changes: aggression, irritability;
– increased appetite with consequential weight gain;
– changes in the heart rhythm;
In children, corticosteroids like Prednisone may cause growth suppression. Studies say that children taking higher cumulative doses of Prednisone have more reduction in height than those taking lower doses.
Prednisone is a medication, which can be used to treat various diseases, including cancer and autoimmune disorders. This medication can become an effective weapon in your fight with a disease but you should be aware of the possible risk to be able to weigh the pros and cons.