Prednisone Side Effects

Prednisone is a corticosteroid medication used to treat a wide variety of medical conditions such as allergies, ulcerative colitis (an inflammatory disease of the bowel), arthritis and psoriasis (type of skin disorder). It reduces inflammation and helps relieve any swelling, pain or redness. According to MedlinePlus, you may initially take 5 to 60mg of prednisone daily and your doctor will adjust your dosage based on the severity of your symptoms.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Common Side Effects

According to MedlinePlus, prednisone's routine side effects include a headache, heartburn, trouble sleeping, acne and more hair growth. It can affect your state of mind and cause extreme euphoria (happiness), mood changes and personality changes. Other symptoms include dizziness, changes in your fat distribution, muscle weakness, extreme fatigue, diaphoresis (sweating) menstrual irregularities and bruising. These side effects are rather harmless but call your doctor if these symptoms don't subside within three days. She may switch your medication or change your prednisone dose.

Dangerous Side Effects warns that prednisone can cause visual problems, trouble breathing, rapid weight gain, swelling and bloody stools. It can also cause hemoptysis (coughing up blood), convulsions, depression and hypokalemia (low potassium). Symptoms of hypokalemia include an arrythmia (irregular heartbeat), frequent urination, muscle weakness, leg pain, thirst and confusion. Prednisone can cause pancreatitis, a condition in which your pancreas is inflamed. Signs of pancreatitis are the following: nausea, vomiting, tachycardia (fast heartbeat) and stomach pain that radiates to your back. Sometimes, prednisone can provoke hypertension (high blood) and cause an excruciating headache, tinnitus (ringing in your ears), chest pain, confusion, arrythmia (irregular heartbeat) and seizure. Other major side effects include hives, itching, stomach pain or swelling, difficulty swallowing and vomiting.

Other Side Effects

According to the National Library of Medicine, other side effects of prednisone include fluid retention, vertebral compression fractures (fracture of your back bones), facial redness and glaucoma (a condition of increased eye pressure). Other problems include stunted growth in children, cataracts (cloudy of your eye lenses) and exopthalmos (condition where your eyes protrude out of its socket).


Avoid prednisone if you are allergic to its components. You may develop trouble breathing, hives or swelling of your face, throat and tongue. Do not get the small pox vaccine while receiving prednisone treatment. The National Library of Medicine says that this combination can lead to neurological (brain and spinal cord) problems. It is unclear whether prednisone harms your baby during pregnancy or when you breastfeed. Tell your doctor if you plan to breastfeed or become pregnant. Use caution when using prednisone if you suffer from hypothyroidism (condition of low levels of thyroid hormone that regulate metabolism) or cirrhosis (liver damage). These conditions can increase the amount of prednisone in your blood. Using prednisone while having ocular herpes (herpes infection of the eye) can lead to a tear in your cornea (thin layer of tissue over your eyes). Prednisone use while suffering from ulcerative colitis can put you at risk for diverticulitis (a bowel infection), peptic ulcer, osteoporosis (brittle bones) and kidney problems. According to MedlinePlus, tell your doctor if you are taking such medications as aspirin, warfarin and fluconazole. These medications may interact with prednisone and cause the aforementioned side effects.