Prednisone Side Effects
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Nov 15, 2021.
For the Consumer
Applies to prednisone: oral solution, oral tablet, oral tablet delayed release
Side effects requiring immediate medical attention
Along with its needed effects, prednisone may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking prednisone:
- blurred vision
- decrease in the amount of urine
- fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- mood changes
- noisy, rattling breathing
- numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
- pounding in the ears
- shortness of breath
- swelling of the fingers, hands, feet, or lower legs
- trouble thinking, speaking, or walking
- troubled breathing at rest
- weight gain
Incidence not known
- Abdominal or stomach cramping or burning (severe)
- abdominal or stomach pain
- bloody, black, or tarry stools
- cough or hoarseness
- darkening of the skin
- decrease in height
- decreased vision
- dry mouth
- eye pain
- eye tearing
- facial hair growth in females
- fever or chills
- flushed, dry skin
- fruit-like breath odor
- full or round face, neck, or trunk
- heartburn or indigestion (severe and continuous)
- increased hunger
- increased thirst
- increased urination
- loss of appetite
- loss of sexual desire or ability
- lower back or side pain
- menstrual irregularities
- muscle pain or tenderness
- muscle wasting or weakness
- pain in the back, ribs, arms, or legs
- painful or difficult urination
- skin rash
- trouble healing
- trouble sleeping
- unexplained weight loss
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- vision changes
- vomiting of material that looks like coffee grounds
Side effects not requiring immediate medical attention
Some side effects of prednisone may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Increased appetite
Incidence not known
- Abnormal fat deposits on the face, neck, and trunk
- dry scalp
- lightening of normal skin color
- red face
- reddish purple lines on the arms, face, legs, trunk, or groin
- swelling of the stomach area
- thinning of the scalp hair
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to prednisone: compounding powder, oral delayed release tablet, oral solution, oral tablet
The most commonly reported adverse effects associated with corticosteroid use include fluid retention, alteration in glucose tolerance, high blood pressure, behavior and mood changes, increased appetite and weight gain. Occurrence is often associated with dose and duration of therapy; long-term effects include HPA suppression, Cushingoid appearance, cataracts and increased intraocular pressure/glaucoma, osteoporosis and vertebral compression fractures.[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Decreased carbohydrate and glucose tolerance, increased requirements for insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents in diabetics, lipid abnormal, negative nitrogen balance caused by protein catabolism, hypokalemia, hypokalemic alkalosis, metabolic alkalosis, potassium loss, sodium retention with resulting edema, increased appetite and weight gain, anorexia and weight loss, hypertriglyceridemia, hypercholesterolemia[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Bradycardia, cardiac arrest, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac enlargement, circulatory collapse, congestive heart failure, ECG changes caused by potassium deficiency, edema, fat embolism, hypotension, hypertension or aggravation of hypertension, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in premature infants, myocardial rupture following recent myocardial infarction, necrotizing angiitis, syncope, tachycardia, thromboembolism, thrombophlebitis, vasculitis[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Adrenal insufficiency associated symptoms including arthralgias, buffalo hump, amenorrhea, postmenopausal bleeding or menstrual irregularities, development of cushingoid state, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, moon face, secondary adrenocortical and pituitary unresponsiveness (particularly in times of stress as in trauma, surgery, or illness), increased or decreased motility and number of spermatozoa[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Blurred vision, cataracts (including posterior subcapsular cataracts) central serous chorioretinopathy, secondary bacterial, fungal, and viral infections, exophthalmos, glaucoma, increased intraocular pressure[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Abdominal distention, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, gastric irritation, nausea, oropharyngeal candidiasis, pancreatitis, peptic ulcer with possible perforation and hemorrhage, perforation of the small and large intestine (particularly in patients with inflammatory bowel disease), ulcerative esophagitis, vomiting[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Arthralgia, aseptic necrosis of femoral and humeral heads, increased risk of fracture, loss of muscle mass, muscle weakness, myalgias, osteopenia, osteoporosis, pathologic fracture of long bones, steroid myopathy, tendon rupture (particularly of the Achilles tendon), vertebral compression fractures, suppression of growth in pediatric patients[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Arachnoiditis, benign intracranial hypertension, convulsions, dementia, dizziness, EEG abnormalities, impaired cognition, increased intracranial pressure with papilledema, increased motor activity, ischemic neuropathy, severe tiredness or weakness, meningitis, neuritis, neuropathy, paraparesis/paraplegia, sensory disturbances[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Amnesia, anxiety, delirium, depression, emotional instability and irritability, euphoria, hallucinations, severe psychiatric symptoms, insomnia, long-term memory loss, mania, mood swings, neuritis, neuropathy, paresthesia, personality changes, psychiatric disorders including steroid psychoses or aggravation of preexisting psychiatric conditions, restlessness, schizophrenia, verbal memory loss, withdrawn behavior[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Acne, acneiform eruptions, allergic dermatitis, alopecia, angioedema, angioneurotic edema, atrophy and thinning of skin, dry scaly skin, ecchymosis and petechiae (bruising), erythema, facial edema, hirsutism, impaired wound healing, increased sweating, lupus erythematosus-like lesions, perineal irritation, purpura, rash, striae, subcutaneous fat atrophy, suppression of reactions to skin tests, telangiectasis, thin fragile skin, thinning scalp hair, urticaria, hypertrichosis[Ref]
Frequency not reported: ALT, AST and alkaline phosphatase elevations (usually reversible upon discontinuation), hepatomegaly[Ref]
Frequently asked questions
- What is considered a high dose of prednisone?
- Can you drink alcohol with prednisone?
- How long can you take prednisone safely?
- Do i take all 6 prednisone pills at once on the first day?
- How long does prednisone stay in your system?
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- How long does it take for prednisone to work?
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- I just took 800 mg ibuprofen and 30 mg of prednisone. Is that going to be ok?
- How long does it take prednisone to get out of your system?
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- Why does prednisone cause weight gain?
- Is it safe to take ibuprofen right after taking prednisone?
- Can prednisone raise blood pressure?
- Why is prednisone prescribed with Zytiga?
More about prednisone
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Patient Tips
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 740 Reviews
- Drug class: glucocorticoids
- Drug Information
- Prednisone (Advanced Reading)
- Prednisone Delayed-Release Tablets
- Prednisone Oral Concentrate
- Prednisone Tablets
- Prednisone Oral Solution
Related treatment guides
1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0
2. "Product Information. Rayos (predniSONE)." Horizon Pharma USA Inc, Northbrook, IL.
3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0
4. "Product Information. PredniSONE (predniSONE)." Watson Pharmaceuticals, Parsippany, NJ.
5. "Product Information. Deltasone (prednisone)." Pharmacia and Upjohn, Kalamazoo, MI.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.