Prednisone is an immunosuppressant drug which is used to treat inflammatory diseases. This article lists the various therapeutic uses of this drug.
Corticosteroids, which are mainly classified into glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids, are particularly produced in the adrenal cortex of the body. They are involved in body’s response towards stress, behavior, metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins, modification of immune response, and reduction of swelling and blood electrolyte levels. Prednisone is a synthetic glucocorticoid drug that is often prescribed for medical conditions that are characterized by inflammation or an autoimmune response. It is an immunosuppressant drug, which means that it suppresses the normal immune response. It is widely used for the treatment of the poison ivy rash and several other allergies.
This prescription drug is available in the form of tablets and solutions. It is a less active form that gets converted into its active form (prednisolone) by the liver. Methylprednisolone, which is an effective variant of the active form of this synthetic steroid, might be prescribed in some cases. While prednisone is taken orally, methylprednisolone is taken intramuscularly or intravenously. Both these forms are used to treat various autoimmune diseases in humans, as well as, animals like dogs, cats, and horses. Following are the various diseases and disorders for which the drug is used.
► Rheumatic Disorders
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Bursitis (acute and subacute)
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Acute tenosynovitis
- Acute gouty arthritis
► Endocrine Disorders
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
- Adrenal insufficiency (primary or secondary)
- Hypercalcemia associated with cancer
- Nonsuppurative thyroiditis
► Dermatologic Diseases
- Stevens-Johnson syndrome
- Mycosis fungoides
- Dermatitis herpetiformis
- Exfoliative dermatitis
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Psoriasis (severe)
- Bronchial asthma
- Serum sickness
- Seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis
- Contact dermatitis
- Drug hypersensitivity reactions
- Atopic dermatitis
► Respiratory Disorders
- Loeffler’s syndrome
- Pulmonary tuberculosis
- Symptomatic sarcoidosis
- Aspiration pneumonitis
► Ophthalmic Disease
- Allergic pink eye (conjunctivitis)
- Herpes zoster ophthalmicus
- Allergic marginal corneal ulcers
- Optic neuritis
- Diffuse posterior uveitis and choroiditis
- Sympathetic ophthalmia
- Anterior segment syndrome
► Hematologic Disorders
- Congenital (erythroid) hypoplastic anemia
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (in adults)
- Erythroblastopenia (RBC anemia)
- Secondary thrombocytopenia
- Acquired (autoimmune) hemolytic anemia
► Neoplastic Diseases
- Palliative management of Leukemia (adults)
- Palliative management of Lymphoma (adults)
- Palliative management of Acute leukemia (children)
► Gastrointestinal Disorders
- Regional enteritis (Crohn’s disease)
- Ulcerative colitis
► Collagen Diseases
- Acute rheumatic carditis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
As stated earlier, this immunosuppressant drug is also used for treating several disorders and diseases in animals; especially dogs. It is used to treat conditions like spinal cord trauma, canine autoimmune disease, anaphylactic reactions and shocks, inflammatory orthopedic diseases, neoplasia, hives, itching, and inflammatory bowel disease in dogs (canine IBD).
The prolonged use of this drug or an overdose can lead to complications. Its side effects include adrenal suppression, weight gain, euphoria, insomnia, osteoporosis, type II diabetes, and glaucoma. This drug can also evoke drug dependency and depression.
In dogs, the side effects include thinning of hair and skin, unpredictable changes in behavior, cataracts, food cravings at odd timings, frequent urination, etc. The drug may also cause severe medical conditions called hyperadrenocorticism or canine Cushing’s disease.
Since the overdose of this drug could give rise to a host of distressing symptoms or complications, it should only be taken under medical supervision, as per the prescribed dosage for the duration recommended by the doctor.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.