Prednisone is a synthetic medicine with pronounced anti-inflammatory, anti-shock, anti-allergic and immunosuppressive effects. Learn more about the features of its utilization.

Prednisone: anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating medicine

Many synthetic medicines resemble the structure of natural biologically active compounds, for example, hormones. This approach allows getting the desired and quite predictable action and at the same time creating a safe drug. One such example is Prednisone, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that is widely utilized in clinical practice.

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The history of the medicine and its mechanism of action

Prednisone is a synthetic medicine, a derivative of glucocorticoid hormones, namely cortisone. Its molecule does not contain fluorine but other structural features are the same.

This molecule was first synthesized in the middle of the XX century by American microbiologists. Then, it was thoroughly exploredand its efficiency and safety were proven in various clinical trials. An active ingredient of the medicine interacts with different receptors and cells and provides the same effects as natural glucocorticoids. The latter serve as helpers of the immune system that suppress inflammation and reduce its overreactivity.

Modern prednisone is utilized as parenteral, oral and local dosage for a wide variety of diseases. It possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-shock, anti-allergic and immunosuppressive effects.

Indications for use

The list of indications for this medicine includes:

  • adrenal insufficiency;
  • hypoglycemic conditions (when the glucose levels in the blood dangerously decrease);
  • systemic connective tissue diseases, including rheumatism, lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, nodular periarteritis, dermatomyositis and Bekhterev’s disease;
  • blood system issues, including hemolytic anemia, lymphogranulomatosis, agranulocytosis and granulocytopenia, thrombocytopenic purpura andleukemias;
  • skin diseases like eczema, exudative erythema, erythroderma, psoriasis, alopecia andseborrheic dermatitis;
  • respiratory system issues, including bronchial asthma, sarcoidosis and false croup in children;
  • endocrinological illnesses like primary and secondary insufficiency of the adrenal cortex and adrenogenital syndrome;
  • allergic diseases, including urticaria, atopic and contact dermatitis, toxicoderma and food and drug allergic reactions.

In each case, the dosage form and administration scheme are selected individually according to the condition of the patient, age and body weight.

Administration routes

Prednisone is available in the following dosage forms:

  • tablets of 0.001; 0.002; 0.0025; 0.005; 0.01; 0.02 and 0.05 g;
  • solution for oral use with the active substance content of 5 mg/5 ml in bottles of 30, 120 and 500 ml;
  • rectal suppositories of 100 mg.

Side effects and contraindications

When using this medicine, the doctor and the patient should stay aware of the possible adverse effects:

  • skin issues (bruises, thinning of the skin, hyper- or hypopigmentation and appearance of hair);
  • digestive system problems, including pain in the stomach area, pancreatitis and steroid ulcers of the stomach and duodenum;
  • nervous system and sense organs adverse effects like mental disorders, steroid cataract and latent glaucoma;
  • cardiovascular system issues, namely arterial hypertension;
  • endocrine system problems (impaired glucose tolerance, diabetes, menstrual cycle disorders, growth retardation in children, delayed sexual development in children, suppression of the pituitary-adrenal system, Cushing’s disease, obesity, delayed removal of water and sodium from the body and hypokalemia);
  • musculoskeletal system diseases, including osteoporosis, muscle atrophy, aseptic osteonecrosis and bone fractures that occur after a long time of the utilization of the medicine;

Other possible side effects include a decrease in resistance to infections, a violation of the leukocyte formula, an increase in the fragility of blood vessels, an increase in blood clotting and slowed wound healing.

It’s worth mentioning that their manifestation and severity correlate with the time of the utilization of this medicine. That is why, short-term prescription is usually considered safe and the medicine is utilized not only for adults but also for children.

Still, some contraindicationsshould be taken into account.

An absolute one is increased sensitivity to prednisone. Other contraindications, especially for the long-term treatment, include:

  • exacerbation of peptic ulcer disease or peptic ulcer;
  • osteoporosis;
  • Cushing’s disease;
  • renal failure;
  • severe arterial hypertension;
  • severe glaucoma;
  • systemic mycoses;
  • thromboembolism;
  • active tuberculosis;
  • active viral infections;
  • mental illnesses;
  • period after vaccination.

In any case, the doctor should determine the risks and benefits and then make a prescription.


Prednisone belongs to powerful anti-inflammatory agents and should be prescribed with caution and only for the appropriate diseases. Its short-term utilization is considered safe, while prolonged utilization may bring some side effects.