Prednisone is a synthetic glucocorticoid hormone. Glucocorticoids are produced by the adrenal gland and belong to the corticosteroid class of hormones. Glucocorticoids work by binding to glucocorticoid receptor proteins, which are expressed on the surface of almost every cell in the body. The activation of glucocorticoid receptors has immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory effects, so the drug can be used to treat a wide range of conditions. However, administering synthetic hormones causes the adrenal glands to stop producing glucocorticoids naturally, so administration of prednisone, especially for periods longer than seven days, must be carefully monitored.
Because of the drug’s broad systemic effects, prednisone has been approved to treat many different diseases and conditions,1 including:
Because glucocorticoids work on a systemic level, they can have a wide range of side effects.
The most common side effects include:2
Extended use of glucocorticoids may also have long-term side effects, which include:3
Patients who experience serious side effects should contact a physician immediately. These side effects include:4
Patients should also avoid abrupt discontinuation of prednisone treatment that has lasted longer than seven days. This can lead to an Addison (adrenal) crisis.
Using prednisone concurrently with other drugs can alter its efficacy. Drugs that induce hepatic enzymes such as phenobarbital, phenytoin, and rifampin can increase the rate of clearance of prednisone, thereby decreasing its effectiveness. In contrast, troleandomycin and ketoconazole decrease the metabolism of corticosteroids, so prednisone will remain active in the system for longer than usual when used in conjunction with these medications. Prednisone may alter the effects of aspirin and anticoagulant drugs.5
Other medications that may interact with prednisone include:6
Prednisone was first isolated by American microbiologist Arthur Nobile in 1950 and became commercially available in 1955. Doctors began to prescribe prednisone more frequently in the 1980’s, as the medical community became increasingly aware that inflammation was the underlying cause of a broad range of diseases.7
Prednisone can be used to treat many different diseases and disorders, so hundreds of new articles are about the drug are published each year. Recently, concerns have been raised about the severe side effects of prednisone, especially the long-term consequences of frequent use, so many researchers are examining the safety and effectiveness of different dosage schemes in the context of a wide variety of diseases. Scientists are also constantly exploring the ability of prednisone to treat more conditions, especially those that are unresponsive to other medications.
Many compound pharmacists prefer Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate, another glucocorticoid that treats many of the same conditions as prednisone and may have less severe side effects in some patients. Please find more information about our Bulk APIs here.