The side effects of a Prednisone shot may be mild and treatable, or lead to severe and long-term medical problems. Every patient should educate themselves about the probable side effects before starting any medication.
Prednisone is a popular drug recommended by doctors for treating a wide range of medical conditions. Its primary therapeutic effect is to reduce the body’s immune responses, and is administered after organ transplantation. Sold under the brand names Prednicen-M, Deltasone, Liquid Pred, and Orasone, Prednisone shows varied side effects in patients.
So what is Prednisone? Chemically, it is a synthetic glucocorticoid, classified under the class steroid or corticosteroid. When delivered in the body, it mimics hydrocortisone hormone, which is secreted by the adrenal glands. It is administered in the form of oral tablets, oral solution, and shots. The tablets are formulated in dosages 2.5, 5, 10, 20, and 50 mg, while the strength of a solution is 1 mg/ml. While patients advocate oral tablets and solutions, doctors deliver shots intravenously.
In all patients, Prednisone treatment is started with a lower dosage, which is gradually increased according to the patient’s response towards the drug. One of the major concerns regarding treatment with this drug, is the fact that prolonged administration of it yield better and effective results. Hence, many of the side effects are attributed to long-term intake of this drug. Following are some of the commonly observed side effects:
Drug Interaction: Interaction with other therapeutic medication increases the risk of side effects. When taken in conjunction with Phenytoin or estrogen, the drug action of Prednisone is altered in the body. Hence, a patient may need to take a lowered or increased dose of this cortisol hormone.
Skin Condition: As with any other type of injections, the recipient of Prednisone shot may experience skin symptoms near the injection site. The observed signs are swelling, pain, and mild inflammation at the areas. In rare cases, lightening of the skin tone in the injection area is seen, which subsides gradually.
Adrenal Gland Atrophy: After the extended usage of this synthetic hormone, the adrenal glands reduce their function of secreting normal amount of cortisol. Considering this, during Prednisone withdrawal, the concentration is tapered gradually. Doing so, encourages the adrenal glands to start functioning normally.
Bone Problem: Many patients who have taken these tablets for a long time complain of bone related complications. The same is true with the injections. Osteoporosis is an adverse effect, observed especially in women. Hence, the concerned physician often recommends calcium and other supplements to combat such problems.
Weak Immune System: It weakens the patient’s immune system. Hence, patients who have relied on these injections possess an increased risk of developing infectious diseases. As a consequence, the effectiveness of antibiotics and vaccines, administered to the patient, is also affected.
Other Side Effects: In addition to the above side effects, it may cause other medical conditions such as elevated blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and irregular menstrual cycle in women. These effects occur rarely with a single or occasional shot. Usually, doctors restrict the injections to less than 4 times in a year.
In some patients, Prednisone, in the form of tablets or shots, are essential to treat underlying health problems. At times, the effects are predictable but unavoidable. In such cases, delivering the correct dosage under strict medical supervision is essential for minimizing the adverse effects. Also, the patient should disclose his/her medical history and current medications (if any) to the concerned doctor to avoid any drug complications.