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Does prednisone cause a rapid heart rate?

Medically reviewed by Sally Chao, MD. Last updated on Jan 28, 2022.

Official answer


Prednisone may cause what is known as tachycardia, or a rapid heart rate over 100 beats per minute. In clinical studies, other possible adverse cardiovascular effects reported were:

Prednisone may cause elevations of salt, water retention and blood pressure, which results in changes to cardiovascular and renal function. While the exact cause of steroid-induced arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats is not known, it may be due to sudden electrolyte shifts within the body that result in irregular heartbeats.

However, tachycardia is not one of the more common possible adverse effects of the drug. The most common adverse effects reported while taking prednisone were:

  • Fluid retention
  • Changes in blood glucose tolerance
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Behavioral and mood changes
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain

Side effects can best be minimized through patient monitoring and using lower potency dosages.

  1. van der Hooft CS, Heeringa J, Brusselle GG, et al. Corticosteroids and the risk of atrial fibrillation. Arch Intern Med. 2006 May 8;166(9):1016-20. doi: 10.1001/archinte.166.9.1016.
  2. American Heart Association (AHA). About arrhythmia. September 30, 2016. Available at: [Accessed January 6, 2022].
  3. Taylor MR, Gaco D. Symptomatic sinus bradycardia after a treatment course of high-dose oral prednisone. J Emerg Med. 2013 Sep;45(3):e55-8.
  4. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Prescribing Information: Rayos (Prednisone). Available at: [Accessed January 6, 2022].
  5. Puckett Y, Gabbar A, Bokhari AA. Prednisone. StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan. Available at:

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