Prednisolone is known for mimicking the effects of the cortisol hormone that’s naturally made by the adrenal glands. It’s a steroid medicine that decreases inflammation and is used for treating several conditions, such as asthma, allergies, and specific arthritis types. Though a low-dosage steroid, prednisolone 5 mg’s side effects still cannot be ruled out. In fact, the short-term effects could surface in a matter of days. Typically, long-term effects show up only after having used prednisolone for months together.
Like most other steroids, stomach upset is a possibility within some days of administering prednisolone – the symptoms being indigestion, heartburn, and nausea. Taking this steroid with food could help decrease such effects. Increased appetite and weight gain is possible if you are eating more food than normal. Other likely short-term effects are restlessness, difficulty sleeping, moodiness, increased sweating, and acne breakouts. In case you’re a diabetic, your blood sugar numbers may increase, requiring an alteration in your diabetes medicine plan.
Immune System and Fluid Balance Effects
Even a small dose of steroids such as prednisolone could disrupt a body systems’ normal function, particularly after having taken the medicine for many months. Side effects relating to the immune system and fluid balance are fairly common when on prednisolone for the long term. You could see your feet, hands or ankles swelling as prednisolone can lead to salt and water retention. This effect could also result in increased blood pressure. Your infection susceptibility may also go up, as steroids overpower the immune system. Therefore, recovering from an infection could take longer when you’re sick.
Skin, Bone and Eye Effects
The effects on the bone, eye and skin are quite common when on prednisolone therapy for the long term. Similar to other steroid medicines, prednisolone could weaken the bones and cause osteoporosis, increasing fracture risks. You could also notice skin changes, which includes easy bruising, skin thinning, increased body hair or slow wound healing. With time, prednisolone therapy could cause glaucoma, a medical condition characterized by heightened pressure in the eyes. Cataract is also a possibility but it’s not as likely as glaucoma.
Low-dose, long-term prednisolone therapy is unlikely to induce hormonal issues. Administering a steroid medicine such as prednisolone could decrease sex hormone levels in a body. As a consequence, women could face menstrual cycle irregularities or issues. Long-term prednisolone therapy could even cause the Cushing syndrome, a hormonal condition. Possible symptoms and signs include face rounding, weight increase in the trunk region, thinning of the legs and arms, and abdomen stretch marks.