An immediate-release tablet reaches peak concentrations in approximately 1 to 2 hours. You can feel the effects of prednisone within a few hours. However, it may take a few days before you see the full results of the actions of prednisone in your condition. Oral steroids usually improve symptoms in one to four weeks, while intravenous steroids take four to 10 days.
About one in five people show no response to treatment with steroids (this is known as refractory to steroids). If your condition doesn’t improve, contact your IBD team. Steroids are usually only given for a short period of time to quickly treat outbreaks of your condition. Depending on your condition and the dose you’re prescribed, you may notice an improvement in your symptoms within a few days.
Taking steroid tablets for less than 3 weeks is unlikely to cause significant side effects. However, you may have some side effects if you need to take them longer or in high doses. The medication usually works within 1 to 2 hours. Delayed-release tablets start working in about 6 hours.
Once you stop taking it, the medicine doesn’t stay in your system for long. If you normally wear contact lenses, you may need to avoid wearing them while you are being treated with steroid eye drops. Some other skin problems, such as rosacea, acne, and ulcers, can worsen with steroid creams, so you may not be able to take them if you have any of these conditions. Current guidelines say that some steroid tablets, including Prednisolone, can be taken during pregnancy.
Sometimes, they may also recommend other medications to take along with steroids to protect you from some of the side effects, such as medications to help prevent indigestion or heartburn, or medications that help strengthen bones. If you have taken steroid tablets for more than a few days, they can cause side effects known as withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking them. Steroid tablets may not be suitable in these cases, although your doctor may recommend them if you think the benefits outweigh the risks. This can cause thinning of the skin, stretch marks, and the face to become rounder, but it usually disappears once steroids are stopped.
If you have any of these conditions, the person treating you will need to make sure that steroids don’t worsen the condition. You may be given a special steroid treatment card that explains how you can reduce the risk of side effects. They are also known as corticosteroids and are different from anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders and athletes. If you are already taking steroid tablets, consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any other medications, remedies, or supplements.
If you have any questions or concerns about this, talk to the health professional who prescribed the steroids for you. In children and teens, steroids can sometimes slow growth, so they will need to have their height monitored regularly. Tell your doctor if you take any other medications, including supplements and herbal remedies, before you start taking steroid tablets. If you use a steroid cream, it’s okay to get vaccinated, but you’ll need to tell the person giving you the injection to avoid the area being treated with the cream.
If you’re taking high doses of steroids, or if you’re taking them for more than three weeks, you’ll need to carry a steroid card.