Drugs Home > Prednisone Side Effects

Insomnia, headaches, and stomach irritation are a few short-term side effects that have been reported with prednisone. Side effects that have been seen in people who have used the drug for long periods of time include stretch marks, cataracts, and acne. While side effects of prednisone are mostly minor and require little or no medical attention, you should let your healthcare provider know if you develop infections, high blood pressure, or severe fluid retention, among other serious problems.

An Introduction to Prednisone Side Effects

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with prednisone; however, not everyone who takes the medication will have problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with prednisone. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of prednisone side effects with you.)

Short-Term Side Effects of Prednisone

Short-term side effects of prednisone may include:

Long-Term Prednisone Side Effects

Taking prednisone over long periods of time can cause a different set of side effects. These long-term side effects can include:
  • Weight gain (see Prednisone and Weight Gain)
  • Bulging eyes
  • Fluid retention
  • Osteoporosis
  • Acne
  • Loss of muscle
  • Stretch marks, especially on the abdomen (or stomach)
  • Fat deposits on the face and back (causing a round face and a fatty hump on the back of the neck)
  • Thin skin
  • Cataracts
  • Stunted growth (in children).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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