Prednisone is a steroid which is an anti-inflammatory drug commonly used for respiratory lung disease and asthma. These steroids will be inhaled, taken orally, or given by injection and they are designed to calm the inflamed airways in asthma sufferers. Asthma sufferers can self administer the prednisone when the situation is controlled. If they are having a severe asthma attack and hospitalized, they are more than likely given high dosages of prednisone and other steroids intravenously. There are risks for taken steroids however; in this case the benefits outweigh the risks.
Prednisone treatment for asthma
Prednisone is an oral steroid medication, which is usually prescribed for more severe asthma symptoms such as an asthma attack. In addition, it can be prescribed even when hospitalization is not necessary.
Oral prednisone is what is called a systemic steroid. What that means is once prednisone is taken orally it will go directly to the bloodstream. This makes prednisone different from the regular inhaled steroids of the anti inflammatory variety which will travel directly to the lungs. The most common uses for prednisone and other systemic steroids are to treat severe asthma symptoms such as the asthma attack. The idea is to get the asthma under control as quickly as possible. These steroids can also be used in conjunction with other asthma medications to control the asthma attack or to be used in long term chronic, hard to control asthma cases.
When systemic steroids such as prednisone are taken in high dosages for a few days, it is called a steroid burst. However, steroids such as prednisone may be given in lower dosages over a longer period of time. Prednisone is not the only systemic steroid used in treating asthma. Other systemic steroids include:
Medrol, Methylpred, solu-Medrol (methylprednisolone)
Deltasone, which is prednisone
Prelone, Pediapred, Orapred, again prednsiolone
Are Prednisone and other oral steroids safe?
There is no doubt that people are leery about using steroids of any kind and it makes it even harder when they are prescribed to help save your life. The good news is that if you only need prednisone or other oral steroids for a short period of time then it is safe. You want to stay away from steroids if it is intended for long-term use, if at all possible. Since there are side affects associated with this drug. Some of the short-term side affects include: weight gain, fluid retention, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar levels. On the other hand, the long-term effects, which are more serious of course, include: suppression of growth in children, diabetes, cataracts, and osteoporosis and muscle weakness.
Research has found that using anti inflammatory inhalers and bronchospasms dilators are an effective treatment to relieve the symptoms of asthma, they may even play a vital role relieving the symptoms of other lung diseases as well. Modern recent indicates that if inhalers are used early enough in the course of the treatment for asthma, they can effectively reduce the need to use oral steroids in the long run.
Inhalers do not have the side affects reported for oral steroids. The anti inflammatory inhalers may cause hoarseness, and thrush. Thrush is a yeast infection, caused by the candida fungus. Thrush is mostly seen as a white covering on the tongue in the mouth, but this fungus can be present anywhere in the body. Babies can have diaper rash, women vaginal infections, but in the case of thrush associated with inhalers for asthma, this side affect generally occurs in the senior population. Whenever you use an asthma inhaler, make sure you rinse out you mouth, simply gargling with water will prevent thrush from setting in.
In conclusion, yes prednisone and other steroids may be necessary to save your life, and yes there can be harmful side affects, but if you catch your asthma in the beginning and have it under control with asthma inhalers you may never have to use prednisone or other oral steroids for long periods of time.