An immediate-release tablet reaches peak concentrations in approximately 1 to 2 hours. You can feel the effects of prednisone within a few hours. However, it may take a few days before you see the full results of the actions of prednisone in your condition. Taking steroid tablets for a long time can increase your chances of getting infections.
If you feel feverish or sick, or if you have any new symptoms after you start taking steroids, it's important to tell your doctor or rheumatology nurse. Using steroids for more than two weeks can decrease the body's ability to respond to physical stress. A higher dose of steroids may be needed during times of increased stress, such as extensive surgery or dental treatment, or a serious infection. This may be necessary for a year after you stop using steroids.
Prednisone should be taken in the morning, when it most closely resembles the body's natural release of the steroid hormone (cortisol), which is high in the morning and low at night. Steroids are an artificial version of chemicals, known as hormones, that occur naturally in the human body. When steroids are absolutely necessary, sometimes another medication can be added to help with the mood problem. Steroid creams and eye drops usually don't cause serious side effects, but if you take them for a long time or in high doses, the medication may be absorbed into the blood and increase the risk of side effects that normally only occur with steroid tablets.
The most common cause of pneumonia vaccine and annual influenza vaccines do not interact with steroid tablets, since they are not live vaccines. Long-term steroids can suppress the protective function of the immune system and increase the risk of infection. Even a decreasing dose of prednisone helps prevent inflammation, which is why you took the steroid in the first place. Because of this, make sure your doctors always know if you have been treated with steroids in the past, especially in the past year, so that they can be alert to the development of adrenal insufficiency at times such as a surgical procedure.
It's important that you don't stop taking steroids without first talking to the person treating you. This can cause thinning of the skin, stretch marks, and the face to become rounder, but it usually disappears once steroids are stopped. If you are taking low-dose aspirin to protect your heart, your doctor may want you to continue this when you take prednisone, but you may consider adding medication to protect your stomach during steroid treatment. If you have indigestion or other stomach problems after you start taking steroids, alcohol is likely to increase the problem, so you may want to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink.
Sometimes, these diseases can be serious in people taking steroids and you may need another treatment before you start to improve. Some other skin problems, such as rosacea, acne, and ulcers, can worsen with steroid creams, so you may not be able to take them if you have any of these conditions.