When do steroids start to work?

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. Steroids are usually only given for a short period of time to quickly treat outbreaks of your condition.

Depending on your condition and the dose you're prescribed, you may notice an improvement in your symptoms within a few days. Prednisone usually works quickly, within an hour or two. The extended-release tablets start working in about six hours. According to WebMD, prednisone injections should begin to have a positive impact within the first 48 hours.

Reducing pain and inflammation from the vaccine is likely to last for weeks, but it could be effective even longer. If you have any questions or concerns about this, talk to the health professional who prescribed the steroids for you. This type of application reduces the amount of excess steroid used and, therefore, can reduce potential side effects. If you have systemic sclerosis, prednisolone could cause kidney problems with certain doses, so you may not be able to take this type of steroid.

Steroids can be taken in a variety of ways for many different types of arthritis and related conditions, as shown in the table below. While small amounts of steroids could pass into breast milk, no research has shown that they are harmful to the baby, so guidelines indicate that people can breastfeed while taking steroid tablets. Prednisone is used to boost natural corticosteroids in patients with low levels or to treat certain health conditions in people with typical levels (via MedlinePlus). Because steroids can cause you to gain weight or increase your appetite, it's important to monitor your weight while taking them.

If you normally wear contact lenses, you may need to avoid wearing them while you are being treated with steroid eye drops. Steroids can affect some medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart or blood pressure problems, or mental health problems. If you have any of these conditions, the person treating you will need to make sure that steroids don't worsen the condition. If you're taking high doses of steroids, or if you're taking them for more than three weeks, you'll need to carry a steroid card.

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. If you have taken steroid tablets for more than a few days, they can cause side effects known as withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking them. Current guidelines say that some steroid tablets, including Prednisolone, can be taken during pregnancy. Long-term use of steroids can cause bone loss (osteoporosis), especially if you smoke or drink alcohol, if you don't exercise, or if you don't get enough vitamin D or calcium in your diet.

Sometimes steroids can affect diabetes, high blood pressure, or epilepsy, so they'll monitor your blood pressure and blood sugar levels from time to time.

Matthew M. Cress
Matthew M. Cress

Fitness Trainer. Lab technician. General food junkie. Supplement researcher.