Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Prednisolone

3-minute read

Prednisolone is an active ingredient that belongs to a group of medicines called corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are synthetic versions of cortisol. To get prednisolone, you must have a prescription written for you by a doctor.

Looking for a medicine?

Visit healthdirect’s list of medicines that contain prednisolone to find out more about a specific medicine.

What is prednisolone used for?

Prednisolone is used to treat many different conditions, including:

It helps reduce inflammation in your body.

Symptoms of inflammation may include swelling, redness, pain, tenderness or itching in any part of your body.

How does prednisolone work?

Prednisolone enters the cells that cause inflammation and blocks the body’s inflammatory reaction. It reduces the symptoms of some conditions, but is not a cure.

What forms of prednisolone are available?

Prednisolone is the name of the active ingredient. It is available in many different brands, which have different:

  • names
  • appearances (size, shape or colour)
  • forms (tablets, liquid, eye drops and suppositories)

No matter which brand you are prescribed, prednisolone works in the same way to treat your condition.

Risk and benefits of prednisolone

Prednisolone helps most people who take it, but some people experience side effects.

Generally, the risk of side effects is low if you take prednisolone for a short time. Your risk increases if you take high doses of prednisolone for a long time.

Common side effects of prednisolone, especially with high doses for long periods, include:

  • fluid retention, which can lead to heart problems
  • trouble sleeping
  • bloating of the face and swelling of the abdomen
  • weight gain
  • irregular periods
  • muscle cramps
  • thin skin with easy bruising and acne

Less common side effects of prednisolone include:

Some side effects can only be picked up by your doctor. If you take prednisolone for long periods of time, you should have regular check-ups.

See your doctor immediately or go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital if you experience any of these serious side effects:

It is important to take prednisolone as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you would like to lower your dose or stop taking prednisolone. Stopping it suddenly might cause side effects.

For more information, read the Consumer Medicines Information (CMI) for the brand of prednisolone you are taking.

Alternatives to prednisolone

Because prednisolone is used for many medical conditions, its alternatives depend on the condition you’re taking it for.

More information

Asking about your treatment or medication is important to help you understand your options. Read our guide to important questions to ask your pharmacist or doctor before taking a medicine.

You can also visit healthdirect's list of medicines that contain prednisolone to read the CMI for the brand of prednisolone prescribed.

Last reviewed: December 2016

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Minims Prednisolone Eye Drops - myDr.com.au

Minims Prednisolone Eye Drops - Consumer Medicines Information leaflets of prescription and over-the-counter medicines

Read more on myDr – Consumer Medicine Information website

Corticosteroid Therapy in Respiratory Disease

Corticosteroids are medications which are similar to cortisone, a hormone which is produced in the body by the adrenal glands. Cortisone is essential to the body for fighting injury, infection and other diseases. Corticosteroids are very different from the anabolic steroids used by some athletes to improve muscle bulk and performance.

Read more on Lung Foundation Australia website

PredMix Oral Liquid - myDr.com.au

PredMix Oral Liquid - Consumer Medicines Information leaflets of prescription and over-the-counter medicines

Read more on myDr – Consumer Medicine Information website

Solone Tablets - myDr.com.au

Solone Tablets - Consumer Medicines Information leaflets of prescription and over-the-counter medicines

Read more on myDr – Consumer Medicine Information website

Glucocorticosteroids (glucocorticoids) information | myVMC

Glucocorticosteroids are also called glucocorticoids or corticosteroids. They have anti-inflmmatory effects and are used to treat allergies symptoms.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

What treatments are used for severe asthma? - An Asthma Australia site

Add-on medication If you have severe asthma, sometimes other types of medication are used together with a preventer and a reliever to help control the symptoms of asthma

Read more on Asthma Australia website

Glucocorticoids and Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become fragile and brittle, leading to a higher risk of fractures. This factsheet is about how taking glucocorticoids can increase the risk of osteoporosis in some people, how you can find out if you are at risk, and what you can do to keep your bones as healthy as possible while you are taking glucocorticoids.

Read more on Osteoporosis Australia website

Corticosteroid injections - myDr.com.au

Corticosteroid injections can reduce inflammation, relieving pain and improving function and mobility. Find out when they are used and the risks involved.

Read more on myDr website

Medication

This Information Sheet is about some of the common medications (drugs) used to treat autoimmune illness.

Read more on Autoimmune Resource and Research Centre website

Management of Bells palsy | Issue 3 | Volume 40 | Australian Prescriber | Australian Prescriber

Bells palsy is facial nerve paralysis of unknown cause. Left untreated, 7075% of patients make a full recovery.

Read more on Australian Prescriber website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback