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How do you taper off of prednisone?

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Prednisone is a medication in a class of drugs called corticosteroids. You might hear your doctor call them glucocorticoids. Prednisone quickly reduces inflammation, which cuts down on pain, redness, and swelling. It also dials down your immune system.

No matter the dose, if you’ve been taking prednisone for more than 2 weeks, you shouldn’t stop suddenly. Your doctor will help you decrease your dose (they’ll call it tapering off) slowly so your body has time to increase its own cortisol production. Follow your doctor’s instructions about tapering carefully. If you quit all of a sudden, you could have symptoms like:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Joint pain
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Body aches

From: Prednisone for Arthritis WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Cleveland Clinic: “Corticosteroids.”

Hospital for Special Surgery: “Steroid Side Effects: How to Reduce Drug Side Effects of Corticosteroids.”

Mayo Clinic: “Prednisone and other corticosteroids,” “Prednisone (Oral Route),” “Prednisone withdrawal: Why do I need to slowly taper down the dosage?”

American College of Rheumatology: “Prednisone (Deltasone).”

Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center: “Arthritis Treated with Prednisone,” Low-Dose Prednisone Can Slow Joint Damage in Rheumatoid Arthritis.”

Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network: “RA and Corticosteroids: What is the Role of Steroids in Arthritis Treatment?”

Vasculitis Foundation: “How long does prednisone stay in your system?”

UpToDate: “Prednisone: Drug Information.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on May 11, 2020

SOURCES:

Cleveland Clinic: “Corticosteroids.”

Hospital for Special Surgery: “Steroid Side Effects: How to Reduce Drug Side Effects of Corticosteroids.”

Mayo Clinic: “Prednisone and other corticosteroids,” “Prednisone (Oral Route),” “Prednisone withdrawal: Why do I need to slowly taper down the dosage?”

American College of Rheumatology: “Prednisone (Deltasone).”

Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center: “Arthritis Treated with Prednisone,” Low-Dose Prednisone Can Slow Joint Damage in Rheumatoid Arthritis.”

Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network: “RA and Corticosteroids: What is the Role of Steroids in Arthritis Treatment?”

Vasculitis Foundation: “How long does prednisone stay in your system?”

UpToDate: “Prednisone: Drug Information.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on May 11, 2020

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