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Community Views: Prednisone Side Effects

Prednisone is a corticosteroid that suppresses the immune system and is used to treat asthma attacks and flare-ups. Although prednisone can help keep our asthma under control when it starts to act up, it can cause several side effects.

We asked our Facebook community: What side effects have you experienced after taking prednisone? We received more than 400 responses! Here is what the community had to say.

Overall views on prednisone

Many have found that the benefit prednisone has on their asthma outweighs the side effects it causes. Although it can improve our breathing, it is still a last resort for several of our members.

  • "I have a love-hate relationship with prednisone. It made me feel so much better afterward."
  • "It helps me breathe so I have more energy."
  • "When I take prednisone, it feels like I'm asthma-free. Amazing breathing!"

Side effects

The side effects of prednisone vary from person to person. Some effects are only experienced for a short period of time, while other effects are long-term. We suggest taking this medicine precisely as directed by your doctor and following the dosing schedule carefully. Here are a few of the side effects of prednisone that our members reported experiencing.

Mood swings, irritability, and insomnia

Members have noticed severe mood swings and heightened emotions while taking prednisone. Along with emotional changes, sleep deprivation is a common side effect. These adverse effects of corticosteroids can be extremely hard to manage and can lead to psychosis and delirium. The higher the dose of prednisone, the more likely it is to experience mood swings and insomnia.1

  • "The mood swings, anger, and the lack of sleep are what I don’t like about it. I actually apologize to my husband before I start taking it."
  • "I can’t sleep, and I’m an emotional monster."
  • "Biggest one for me is a change of sleep habits. I find that I’m wide awake at night when I'm on it."

Weight gain and high blood sugar

Prednisone can greatly affect our appetite and blood sugar. Some of our members shared that they become extremely hungry while taking prednisone, which causes them to quickly gain weight. When it comes to blood sugar, corticosteroids may lead to steroid hyperglycemia, even in people who do not have diabetes. Learn more about prednisone affecting blood sugar here.2

  • "Hungry all the time."
  • "My blood sugar gets high and I feel horrible and gain weight."
  • "I'm not diabetic. However, when I've had to take prednisone for nasty asthma, my sugar shot way up."
  • "Makes me gain weight every time I am on them."

Cataracts

Research has been conducted on the ocular side effects of steroids, which includes cataract formation. Although cataracts can be removed with surgery, the long-term use of steroids like prednisone has been found to accelerate the development of cataracts. Learn more about cataracts and other ocular side effects here.3

  • "I had cataracts at a young age and have been told that prednisone caused them. I also noticed a huge change in the size of cataracts since I took high doses."
  • "Steroid-induced hyper cataracts. Had surgery for both."
  • "My mother woke up one morning completely blind. Come to find out it's a side effect of long-term prednisone usage. It causes cataracts."

Thin skin and bruising

Prednisone has also caused thinning of the skin which leads to pain, tears, and bruising. Research studies have shown that people taking steroids are more susceptible to bruising than people that do not take them. Read more about bruising with asthma here.4

  • "The slightest thing causes blood to pool under my skin so now my skin looks terrible."
  • "Thin skin that is very susceptible to skin tears, osteopenia, bruise easily."
  • "Full body pain like if you touched my skin it felt like it was bruising - so painful."

Thank you for sharing your prednisone side effects with us!

The list of side effects goes on. Members have expressed experiencing moon face, hot flashes, increased urination, swelling, anxiety, and more. As one community member said, "At times, it’s a necessary evil."

We highly suggest speaking with your doctor if you experience extreme side effects and asking about the peak time of your dose. We appreciate all of our community members who took the time to share their experiences with prednisone.

What side effects have you experienced when taking prednisone? Share in the comments below!

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