What is it?

Prednisone is under a class of medications called corticosteroids. It works by suppressing the immune system which results in a decrease in the inflammatory reaction within the GI tract.

Why do I need this medication?

This medication is effective in treating symptoms of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s Disease.

How long do I have to take this medication?

Prednisone is used for the short-term treatment of symptoms but has no benefit for long term maintenance as it has no effect in preventing flares. Once symptoms settle significantly, the dose of prednisone is slowly reduced to zero.

How do I take it?

This medication comes in pill form and should be taken once daily in the morning.

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The body naturally produces a steroid called cortisol by the adrenal glands. When taking prednisone, the normal cortisol production in the body will decrease. Once prednisone is stopped, cortisol production will resume but it will start slowly. Therefore, it is important to slowly wean off this medication to prevent any withdrawal symptoms.

A typical starting dose will be 40mg. Take this amount for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, you can slowly decrease the dose by 5mg every week. When you reach 20mg, you should then decrease your dose by 2.5mg every week until off. Speak to your doctor prior to weaning off your medication.

When will I start to feel better?

Steroids work relatively quickly and benefits can be seen in as little as 7 days.

What happens when I want to get pregnant?

Prednisone can be taken during pregnancy. However, family planning should be discussed with the doctor for more information.

Read more: Pregnancy and Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis

Can I drink alcohol while on this medication?


What are the risks/side effects?

The following is a list of potential side effects. Many side effects increase with the long-term use of steroids:

  • Acne
  • Hirsutism (hair growth)
  • Striae (stretch marks)
  • Mood disturbances
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Edema (swelling of the feet or ankles)
  • Cushinoid appearance (moonface)
  • Increased appetite/Weight gain
  • Avascular necrosis
  • Increased blood glucose levels
  • Osteoporosis
  • Hypertension
  • Cataracts, glaucoma
  • Increased risk of infection

Check out other treatments for ulcerative colitis and other treatments for Crohn's disease

Other Considerations

  • Because prednisone can increase the risk of osteoporosis, it is advisable to take 1500mg of Calcium and 1000u of Vitamin D daily while taking this medication.
  • Please call the doctor if you experience any unusual groin or hip pain as this may be a symptom of avascular necrosis.

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