PREDNISONE

Main uses in hair loss: alopecia areata and some active scarring hair loss conditions (rapidly progressing lichen planopilaris)

 

What is this drug?

  • Prednisone is a steroid called a corticosteroid.
  • It is used to suppress or “quiet down” the immune system.
  • Your doctor may  prescribe this drug for hair loss conditions where your immune system is too active.

What is the dose I will take and how long will I take it for?

  • The dose of Prednisone will vary depending on your hair loss condition.
  • In most situations, Prednisone is prescribed for short periods of time (a few weeks to a few months).

What are the side effects of Prednisone?

The decision to use Prednisone requires careful thought and discussion with your doctor, pharmacist and perhaps even your family.  The following side effects must be carefully considered before starting.

  1. OSTEOPOROSIS (loss of calcium from bones).  This could make it more likely to develop a fracture in the future
  2. OSTEONECROSIS (loss of blood to bones). This can lead to permanent damage to bones such as those in the hip and may even require hip replacement. This can occur months or even years after Prednisone is stopped.
  3. CATARACTS. Prednisone can increase the chance to develop cataracts in the eye. This may require eye surgery
  4. DIABETES. Prednisone may increase blood sugars and lead to diabetes while I take this medicine. Sometimes, this starts out simply as increased thirst and more frequent urination.
  5. EMOTIONAL CHANGES. Prednisone can lead to emotional changes such as feeling high, angry, depressed, trouble thinking or even hallucinations. These effects typically go away once the Prednisone is stopped.
  6. WEIGHT GAIN. Prednisone makes patients feel hungrier
  7. ACNE
  8. INCREASED BLOOD PRESSURE
  9. ELECTROLYTE CHANGES IN THE BLOOD. Levels of electrolytes like potassium or sodium can change
  10. INCREASE IN FATS IN THE BLOOD
  11. INCREASED RISK OF INFECTIONS.
  12. ROUNDED FACE. This is sometimes known as a ‘moon face’
  13. GLAUCOMA. Prednisone can increase pressures in the eye
  14. HEADACHES
  15. INDIGESTION. Some patients develop heart burn that may require use of antacids
  16. MENSTRUAL CYCLE CHANGES IN WOMEN
  17. STRETCH MARKS
  18. INSOMNIA. Patients may note trouble sleeping
  19. FATIGUE. Patients may note feeling more tired
  20. MUSCLE CRAMPS
  21. SWELLING AROUND THE ANKLES. This is due to increased water retention.
  22. STOMACH PAIN, NAUSEA, VOMITTING
  23. LIGHT HEADEDNESS
  24. IRREGULAR HEART BEATS
  25. HAIR GROWTH ON THE BODY OR FACE

Will I need any blood tests or monitoring while I am taking Prednisone?

  • You will have a baseline set of blood tests, including complete blood count, electrolytes, kidney tests and cholesterol tests.
  • Your blood pressure and weight will also be measured
  • These will be periodically monitored while you are on Prednisone.


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