Prednisone is one of the most widely used drugs in the world and has been a popular form of treatment ever since its invention, mostly for autoimmune conditions. It’s a drug that has a wide effect on the human body and has been life-changing for many patients who have had it prescribed to them. However, a drug with such a wide impact on the body is bound to have other unwanted effects, too, so keep reading to find out everything you need to understand if you’ve been taking this drug.
What It’s Used For
Prednisone is a drug that is used to treat a lot of conditions, but many people aren’t aware of which conditions it’s mostly used for and where it has the greatest effect. It’s used in conditions where the body’s immune system is in overdrive, and to the patient’s detriment, which is usually in diseases like allergic reactions, edemas, asthma, rhinitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions. Doctors aim to reduce inflammation by prescribing this drug so that the patient feels less pain and mobility issues in their day-to-day life, or that allergies affect them less and have a lower chance of being life-threatening.
What it Does
Prednisone’s method of action is something that many patients aren’t aware of, but once you understand it, the rest of its impact on the body will make sense, too. It’s an analog, or synthetic copy, of a hormone that is produced in the body called cortisol, and this hormone affects every organ system in the body. Its main role is to dampen the immune response by reducing the impact of enzymes and cells that are causing inflammation so that chronic issues like arthritis can finally be fixed or reduced. It can also be prescribed when there isn’t a high enough level of cortisol in the body, like in adrenal insufficiency.
There are many side effects of this drug, and the reason for this is that it affects the entire body in every major and minor organ system. The common side effects of prednisone can be major or minor and depend on both, the dosage you’re taking and the condition you may have been diagnosed with. Minor complications include symptoms like hypertension, high blood sugar, increased appetite, and insomnia, while the major complications include edemas throughout the body, disturbances in the lining of your stomach, osteoporosis, and cataracts, and this all depends on how closely you’ve been following your dosage, and how fast you’ve been in updating your doctor.
How It’s Prescribed
The prescription process of prednisone is more complex and intricate than most drugs, and a dose that’s too high could cause the complications listed earlier. On the flip side, a lower dose could fail to help the patients at all. Your doctor will weigh a lot of things; whether you suffer from diseases that make taking this drug risky, how much your body needs it, and how likely you are to get side effects, all these factors count. The dose is started at a higher level to induce an immediate change in the body, and then it’s slowly reduced over weeks to a smaller maintenance dose that’s easier to handle for the body.
What You Need to Monitor
Prednisone has an impact on most methods of absorption and digestion in your body, and if you want to stay fit and healthy, you’ll have to monitor all these symptoms and chemical levels and notify your doctor if any of the vitals fluctuate. The main things you’ll have to monitor, however, are your blood sugar levels and your blood pressure. You may also have to monitor your bone density level using a DEXA scan, which is more inconvenient yet incredibly important if you want to avoid osteoporosis.
Prednisone is one of the most important drugs in the world and has been used as a long-term therapy for hundreds of thousands of patients around the world, for whom it has been life-changing. If you’ve been prescribed this drug, you may feel the same level of impact, but you may feel its side effects, too. Now you know everything you need to know about the drug, and you can feel safe while using it.