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How do I Reduce Prednisone Side Effects?

By Dorothy Bland
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Following a schedule can be vital to reduce prednisone side effects. Those who take the drug daily, for instance, are normally directed to take the drug at the same time every day so the body adjusts to it. Usually, if only one dose a day is prescribed, patients are directed to take the drug earlier in the day, which is thought to help reduce its ability to disturb sleep patterns. To avoid gastrointestinal irritation such as indigestion, users are also typically told to always take the medication after eating or with milk.

One of the most common side effects of prednisone is weight gain, which is caused by the drug's ability to increase appetite. As the body may feel hungry all the time, prednisone users cannot rely on their body as an accurate indication of when they should eat. Instead, users can adopt a schedule for eating and plan out well-balanced meals in advance. By sticking to diets low in cholesterol and fat while high in protein, users of prednisone may be able to avoid weight gain while also preventing atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, another potential concern with taking the medication.

Blood electrolyte balances can also be affected when taking prednisone. As a result, excess sodium is retained and potassium is depleted, causing fluid retention. This excess fluid can cause swelling in the face and extremities as well as lead to high blood pressure. The lack of potassium in the body can cause increased urination, queasiness, and muscle cramping. To reduce these particular side effects, a diet rich in potassium and low in sodium can be adopted. Low-sodium alternatives of soups, seasonings, and sauces are widely available. Foods rich in potassium, including tomatoes, oranges, and melons, are also generally easy to add into a healthy lifestyle.

To find the right nutritional balance when taking prednisone, patients may want to consult a dietitian and follow a personalized eating plan. Upping the duration and frequency of exercise can also help those who take the medication avoid packing on additional pounds. Additionally, weight-bearing exercises such as walking along with taking calcium supplements may be suggested to reduce prednisone side effects related to osteoporosis or bone thinning.

Prednisone is a corticosteroid, which is a type of steroid. Like any other steroid, stopping it suddenly can cause withdrawal side effects. These withdrawal symptoms can include vomiting, drowsiness, and joint pain. To reduce these prednisone side effects, the drug should normally not be stopped without warning. Instead, the prescribing physician will gradually taper down the dosage. A similar approach is also likely to be used in individuals taking the drug for an extended interlude to ensure the dose given effectively manages the pain but is also safe to take for the duration.

With prednisone, a number of patients may experience mood changes ranging from euphoria to depression and nervousness. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing may reduce stress and mood changes in some people. For others, counseling or an anxiety medication may be required to get these prednisone side effects under control.

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Discussion Comments
By bluedolphin — On Dec 27, 2013

Prednisone is also used in pets and prednisone has side effects in dogs too. My dog had to take it recently and I made sure that he took the dose after eating. I gave him plenty of water and just kept an eye on him for adverse side effects. Thankfully, he tolerated it really well.

By ZipLine — On Dec 27, 2013

@ysmina-- I gained only one pound during my prednisone treatment which I lost right after the treatment was over. So I think it was a success.

Avoiding weight gain is not easy when you're on this medication. It's the major side effect from prednisone. It makes one eat more and also causes water retention. The way I managed was by exercising for at least half an hour every day and by trying to eat as healthy as possible. Even if you walk for half an hour daily, it will make a huge difference. If you normally exercise every day, then you may want to increase it just a little bit.

You will have cravings but try to satisfy them with healthy foods like fruits, yogurt and protein shakes. Also, drink lots of water and limit salt so that you don't develop a lot of water retention.

By ysmina — On Dec 26, 2013

I was on prednisone before and gained a lot of weight on it. My doctor wants me on prednisone again and I don't want to go through the same thing again. I will try to plan my meals but I know how bad the cravings can get when I'm on this medication.

Has anyone been able to get through prednisone treatment without gaining weight? How did you do it? I really need help so please share your recommendations!

By Maxioneter — On Dec 23, 2013

I have to take Prednisone whenever my asthma flares up, and I have found that eliminating white bread and sugar from my diet helps reduce Prednisone side effects. I do get the bloated belly effect from this drug but I have found that by eating nuts, tofu, and vegetables, I can significantly reduce this irritating side effect.

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