Prednisolone is a prescription medicine, a steroid, used to treat various conditions including breathing disorders. Steroids are a group of hormones with similar chemical structures that help to control such essential functions as metabolism, inflammation, the immune system, mineral balance, and sexual characteristics.

How does prednisolone for COPD work?

Steroids are usually produced by the adrenal glands, which are located on the top of the kidneys, and by such reproductive organs as the ovaries and testicles.

Prednisolone is a synthetic form of cortisone, one of the steroids produced by the adrenal glands in amounts normally equivalent to about 5 mg daily. When prescribed in doses that exceed that natural amount, prednisolone works to reduce inflammation to treat different diseases, from skin problems to respiratory disorders such as COPD. It is also commonly used to help prevent rejection after an organ transplant. Its exact mechanism of action is not known, although its use can soothe and help to heal the lining of the airways, making them more resistant to bronchospasms. It also preserves or increases the receptors for inhaled bronchodilators.

Indications and side effects

Prednisolone is taken by mouth, as a tablet or a solution. The dosage is usually adjusted to the patient’s weight and it should be taken at around the same time everyday, as directed.

Prednisolone may cause osteoporosis, as well as cataracts and glaucoma. Osteoporosis can be prevented with calcium supplements, and people on a long-term prednisolone treatment should have regular eye exams. Other potential side effects include headache and nausea, emotional disorders, sleeping disorders, acne, thinning hair, increased appetite and weight gain, increased sweating, and irregular or no menstrual periods.

This steroid can weaken the immune system, a necessary step in treating allergies and certain autoimmune diseases (like arthritis or lupus), but which can increase a person’s susceptibility to infection. People using prednisolone are advised not to get vaccinations without consulting their doctor.

 

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