Prednisone, also called as Corticosteroid makes the natural hormone named Cortisol. The hormone is produced by Adrenal glands and is essential for the body’s immune system. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory. Taking prednisone produces more amount of Cortisol in the body than what is produced naturally which actually affects body’s natural function of producing the natural Cortisol. This change suppresses the immune system and subjects us to more infections.
Prednisone’s half life lasts about an hour or two which means the body needs an hour to let the dose flow through the blood stream and leave the body. For instance, a 30 mg dose will need an hour to leave the body but what matters is the time taken by the body to adjust and move back to normal.
Tapering off this drug can turn on the Adrenal glands back. This means that the higher the dose, the lesser time is taken by the glands to start working. One cannot stop taking Prednisone abruptly as it can make the immune system go crazy. If you need stop taking it you need proper tapering as without it you might go into withdrawal which is worse than a drug withdrawal. Tapering might have some side effects but nothing serious. After tapering is done the amount of time that the body takes to get back to normal differs from one person to another.
People who have been taking a small dose might take lesser time as compared to the ones taking a higher dose. For instance if a person has been taking it for 2 months, it could take somewhere around 2 months for the drug to be gone and for the body to start functioning normally again because of the Adrenaline glands. Weight gain and water retention are some of the side effects associated with it but can be fixed with a balanced diet and optimum water intake. Some people also get acne in the process.
Prednisone is used to treat the following conditions:
- Acute cases of Asthma
- Lack of adrenaline
- Cron’s disease
- Suppressing inflammation in inflammatory diseases
- nephrotic syndrome
- Meniere’s disease
- Organ transplants
- Severe migraine headaches
- leukemia and lymphoma
- different types of tumors and cancers
- substitution of natural steroids produced by the body
Flushing Prednisone out
The half life elimination for prednisone is almost 3 to 4 hours. In this time the body lowers the levels of the plasma by half. For the drug to be eliminated completely from the system usually 5.5 lives are needed. Thus one can expect the elimination of the dose of prednisone within 16 to 22 hours from the body. Some of the factors to be kept in mind are as follows:
1. The quantity and the time duration of the drug
- The individual’s metabolic rate – the slower the metabolism the more will be the time taken for the drug to flush out
- The age and overall health of the individual
- Body mass of the person– the bigger the person is the more time will it take for the Prednisone to flush out
Prednisone must not be tapered in a hurry and shouldn’t be stopped all of a sudden especially if you have been on a high dose. The higher the dose and the duration of consumption the lower will be the tapering. The drug usually eliminates on its own within maximum 24 hours if not tapered.
Elimination of the Drug
- Renal elimination: from the Plasma it takes 3.4 to 3.8 hours.
- Peak time
- Maximum 120 minutes
- Maximum time taken:1 to 1.5 days
Prednisone is quick when it comes to excretion with a half life of 2-4 hours. Whatever amount is left in the body depends on the dose. For instance, a 10mg dose will fall pretty low in 24 hours. The anti inflammatory effect of Prednisone can stay for a little longer depending upon the person, anywhere between 12 to 36 hours. A lot of people on this drug complain of sweats but it may not be the prednisone and could be the underlying illness such as in PMR and GCA autoimmune disorder that can cause heavy sweating. Also, irrespective of the duration the drug stays in the body the changes that come with it in the body take time to resolve. For some people it could take as long as 3 months.
- Fatigue and weakness
- Anxiety and nausea
- Pain and burning sensation in the abdomen
- Body aches and chills
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive sweating
- Diarrhea and constant feeling of dizziness
- Fever and headache
- Pain in the joints
- Low blood pressure, sugar and mood swings.