Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially joints, blood, kidneys and the skin. Corticosteroids are man-made drugs that are designed to work as the body’s naturally occurring hormones produced by the adrenal glands and particularly cortisol. Cortisol, the body’s most potent anti-inflammatory hormone, helps regulate blood pressure and the immune system. Lupus patients can strongly benefit from taking the drug prednisone.
Prednisone is one common corticosteroid used to treat lupus. Like other steroid medications, Prednisone works quickly to decrease the swelling, warmth, tenderness, and pain associated with inflammation, and this is achieved by lessening the immune system’s response. Lupus patients can take steroids in pill form, liquid form, topical creams or gels and intravenously (known as pulse steroids). Sometimes the liquid steroids are injected into muscles or directly into joints, while the pulse steroids are given in large dosages through the veins over several hours.
Prednisone is the most commonly prescribed steroid for lupus. It is extremely effective in treating active lupus and symptoms will often rapidly dissipate. Those who have a mild case of lupus may not need the drug. Some of the possible side effects of Prednisone include: dizziness, bulging eyes, acne, increased hair growth, fragile skin, mood swings, difficulty sleeping, weak muscles, heartburn, increased sweating, extreme tiredness, red or purple blotches/lines under the skin, and slowed healing of cuts and bruises. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their doctor before taking this medicine.
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