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About your medicine

Prednisolone is a steroid tablet. It is not the same type of steroid tablet that body builders take. Prednisolone belongs to a group of medicines called immuno-suppressants. As the word immuno-suppressant suggests, the function of these drugs is to suppress the immune system, which is the body’s natural defence system. The aim is to dampen down the immune system enough to stop it rejecting the transplant kidney while still keeping it active enough to fight infections. All patients who have a kidney transplant need to take drugs called immuno-suppressants.

Prednisolone is also taken for autoimmune diseases for example vasculitis or nephrotic syndrome. It is used to try and improve kidney function and to dampen down the disease, stopping it from causing any further damage to the body.

Whilst you are taking prednisolone you are more likely to become ill due to an infection, especially during periods of stress. It is advisable to report any infection to your doctor.

You should NOT be vaccinated with some vaccines whilst receiving prednisolone. (Vaccines are injections that can be given to help prevent you from catching some diseases, for example, polio). For vaccines you can and cannot have, see the vaccine page.

If you or anyone in your family or close friends catches CHICKENPOX it is important to tell your doctor IMMEDIATELY but DO NOT STOP taking your prednisolone. It is also important that you contact your doctor if you catch chickenpox within three months of stopping prednisolone.

Taking your Medicine

You should swallow the tablets whole with a glass of water. They are best taken with food first thing in the morning.

Take the tablets exactly as your doctor explained to you. Do not suddenly stop taking the tablets. Your doctor will tell you when to reduce the dose and when to stop altogether.

If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is nearly time to take the next dose then go on as before.

Unwanted effects

Like most medicines, prednisolone can cause side effects in some people. These include indigestion, weight gain, moon face, diabetes, raised blood pressure, bloated feeling, mood changes, raised cholesterol and tiredness. Some patients may develop facial hair and the face is flushed. Effects that may be seen over a longer period of time include thinning of the bones (osteoporosis) and skin (and bruising on the arms and legs), high blood pressure and mood changes. These side effects are more likely when you are on a high dose, your dose will be lowered by your doctor when it is safe to do so.

If you suffer from any of these, or other undesirable effects, report them to your doctor. DO NOT stop taking the tablets. Your doctor will have chosen this treatment for you bearing in mind the above risks.

Storing your medicine

Store all your tablets in their original containers, in a cool dry place out of the reach of children. You should only remove them from the bottle/box when it is time to take them.

The National Kidney Federation cannot accept responsibility for information provided. The above is for guidance only. Patients are advised to seek further information from their own doctor.

NKF Controlled Document No. 72: Prednisolone written: 25/05/2000 last reviewed: 10/10/2016