Prednisone and Allergies

If you suffer from asthma, you may occasionally need to take prednisone or some other type of corticosteroid to help give your airways a boost so you can breathe better. But did you know in some cases, prednisone could also be used to help you to manage your allergies, too?

Prednisone and Allergies

When you think of steroids, you probably think of the kind that bodybuilders use to bulk up their muscles. Corticosteroids are not actually the same thing, though. In fact, corticosteroids are a class of medication (including prednisone, which is taken orally) that replicates a hormone that occurs naturally in the body in order to reduce different forms of inflammation that exists.

More about Prednisone

Taking prednisone can have multiple benefits. This can be anything from opening up your airways to treating hives to strengthening your immune system.

When used for treating allergies, prednisone typically works by heading off your body's reaction to a trigger that can cause your immune system to kick into overdrive. Since allergies and asthma can often be related, prednisone can also prevent the accompany inflammation of your breathing passages that can cause you to have an asthma-related spasm. As a result, the benefits can be magnified.

Weigh the Facts about Prednisone and Allergies

Though prednisone can be effective, this medication comes with some risks, too. This is because since prednisone is taken orally, it travels through your entire system and along the way, it can cause some serious side effects. This makes it important to weigh the pros and cons before deciding to use this treatment method.

How long you take prednisone, and at how high a dose, can play a big role in how the medication affects you. Generally short-term courses can cause less serious side effects, while taking prednisone for a while can cause more long-term problems.

Review some of the possible symptoms you could experience from taking prednisone for an extended period of time.

  • Glaucoma
  • Swelling in the bottom section of your legs.
  • High blood pressure
  • Mood swings
  • Weight gain
  • Infections
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bruising
  • Irregular menstrual cycles

What You Can Do

If you need to take prednisone, there are some easy things you can do to minimize the risk of these and other side effects. For instance, you can work with your doctor to take the lowest dose possible, and to keep the course of treatment as short as you can. Sometimes you can also get the health benefits without the risk by taking prednisone every other day instead of daily.

To counteract some of the negative health effects, you can take calcium and vitamin A supplements, which will help prevent osteoporosis. You can also increase your exercise and activity levels and watch your calorie intake to help keep weight gain in check.

In addition, you might talk to your doctor about switching to non-oral forms of a corticosteroid, which won't be as difficult for your body to manage.

Taper Off

It's also important to note that when you stop taking prednisone, it's important not to stop cold turkey but to taper off slowly. This is because when you take a long course of this type of medicine, your body produces fewer hormones naturally. Therefore, you need to stop slowly to allow your natural hormone to kick back in again.


The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

The Mayo Health Clinic

Prednisone Information