Prednisone/Prednisolone

General Description: An oral anti-inflammatory agent used to treat many inflammatory, auto-immune and allergy conditions plus many other diseases. Prednisone/prednisolone tablets are available through your veterinarian in many concentrations. For use in both dogs and cats.

What is this drug?

Members of the glucocorticoid class of hormones. This type of steroid breaks down stored resources (fats, carbohydrates and proteins) so that they can be used as fuel at times of stress. Glucocorticoids are naturally produced by the adrenal glands to prepare the body metabolically for physical exercise and stress.
Prednisone is activated by the patient’s liver into prednisolone. These products are considered interchangeable, although some cats are not efficient at the conversion and do better on prednisolone
Given by mouth
Reasons for prescribing:

Used in dogs and cats as an anti-inflammatory for the relief of inflamed areas, to decrease swelling, redness, itching and allergic reactions
Used to treat multiple conditions including Addison’s disease, shock, spinal cord and brain disorders, insulin-secreting tumors or metabolic conditions associated with low blood sugar, some anemias, allergies, auto-immune disorders, certain types of colitis and kidney disease
To reduce blood calcium
Used in cancer chemotherapy
What dogs/cats should not take this medication?

Animals with a systemic fungal infection
Animals with some types of mange (mites)
Pets who have had seizures in the past
Pets with stomach ulcers, corneal ulcers, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, liver and kidney disease or congestive heart failure
Pets with serious bacterial or viral infections or gastrointestinal ulceration(s)
Pets with Cushing’s disease should only receive this medication during very stressful events
Do not use in pregnant animals or in breeding males
Use with caution in very young animals and diabetics
If your pet has had an allergic reaction to prednisone/prednisolone or like products before
Directions:

Read and follow the label carefully.

Give the exact amount prescribed and only as often as directed. If given just once daily, dogs usually receive glucocorticoid drugs in the morning, and cats receive it in the evening (this mimics their natural hormone cycles).

The prime objective of steroid therapy is to achieve a satisfactory degree of control with a minimum effective dose.

Your pet may start at a high dose and then have it reduced. Prednisone/prednisolone may be prescribed for several weeks or even months. Individualization of dosage and duration of treatment will depend upon your pet’s reaction to this drug.

It is important that the dose be tapered to an every other day schedule once the condition is controlled and the body can start to make its own cortisol again. Do not discontinue the drug abruptly.

Give oral forms with food to reduce the chance of stomach ulcers.

Periodic blood work to monitor this drug’s effect may be required if your pet is undergoing long- term therapy.

Call ahead for refills.

What if a dose is missed?

If a dose is missed, give it as soon as you can, regardless of feeding status. If it is time already for the next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to the normal schedule. Do not give two doses at the same time.

What to tell/ask veterinarian before giving medication?

Talk to your veterinarian about:

When will your pet need to be rechecked
What tests may need to be performed prior to and during treatment with this drug
What are the risks and benefits of using this drug
Tell your veterinarian about:

If your pet has experienced side-effects on other drugs/products
If your pet has experienced digestive upset now or ever
If your pet has experienced liver or kidney disease now or ever
If your pet has experienced any other medical problems or allergies now or ever
All medicines and supplements that you are giving your pet or plan to give your pet, including those you can get without a prescription. Your veterinarian may want to check that all of your pet’s medicines can be given together.
If your pet is pregnant or nursing or if you plan to breed your pet
Storage and Warnings:

Store in a tight, light resistant, childproof container in a cool, dry place at room temperature away from heat and direct sunlight.

Keep this and all medication out of reach of children and pets.

Call your physician immediately if you accidentally take this product.

Potential side effects:

Most common side effects are increased thirst, appetite and urination. Your pet may have accidents and need to go outside or use the litter box more frequently. Discuss these side effects with your veterinarian as the dose may be lowered or another steroid could be selected.
This medication causes the kidney to conserve salt. This could be a problem in patients with congestive heart failure or other patients who require sodium restriction
May stunt growth if used in young, growing animals
May lower seizure threshold and alter mood and behavior
At high doses, this medication can cause birth defects early in pregnancy, be irritating to the stomach or cause higher than normal blood sugar levels
If your pet has received high doses, it should not be vaccinated without your veterinarian’s advice as the vaccine may not work or it may actually give your pet the disease you are trying to prevent
Less common side effects include weight gain, insomnia, panting, diarrhea, vomiting, elevated liver enzymes, pancreatitis and behavior changes
Serious side effects are not expected with routine use. When higher doses are used or if use is chronic (ie. longer than 4 months on an every other day schedule), the side effects and concerns become different. Watch for muscle loss, weakness, and the development of diabetes or Cushing’s disease. Typical signs of these diseases are increased thirst, urination, appetite. Cushingoid pets may develop thin skin, poor hair coat and a ‘pot belly’. Monitoring tests or changing therapy may be recommended.
High doses may lead to immune system suppression, making your pet more susceptible to infections. Contact your veterinarian if your pet has a fever (over 103ºF), painful or frequent urination, fatigue, sneezing, coughing or runny eyes
If you notice anything unusual, contact your veterinarian
Can this drug be given with other drugs?

Yes, but possible interactions may occur with amphotericin B, cyclosporine, cyclophosphamide, erythromycin, estrogens, furosemide, insulin, mitotane, NSAIDS (aspirin, carprofen, deracoxib, etc), phenobarbital, phenytoin, rifampin, some vaccines and thiazide.
If your pet experiences any unusual reactions when taking multiple medications, contact your veterinarian.
Overdosing?

Contact your veterinarian immediately if pet eats more than the prescribed amount.

What else should I know?

Notify your veterinarian if your animal’s condition does not improve or worsens despite this treatment.

As with all prescribed medicines, prednisone/prednisolone should only be given to the pet for which it was prescribed. It should be given only for the condition for which it was prescribed.

This is just a summary of information about prednisone/prednisolone. If you have any questions or concerns about prednisone/prednisolone or the condition it was prescribed for, contact your veterinarian.

 

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