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Prednisone Detox

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Prednisone is prescribed to treat many conditions related to immune system overactivity and inflammation. As such, it is not the type of medication typically associated with withdrawal.

Regrettably, if you have been using this medication long-term, abruptly discontinuing use can trigger intensely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. This guide outlines how to counteract prednisone side effects with a tapered reduction in dosage.

What is Prednisone?

Prednisone is a corticosteroid, a cortisone-like medication that acts on the immune system. The medication helps to reduce itching, redness, swelling, and allergic reactions. Prednisone is prescribed for individuals with low levels of cortisol, a hormone that occurs naturally in the body.

The prescription medication is available in these formulations:

  • Immediate-release
  • Delayed-release
  • Liquid solution

All forms of prednisone should be taken orally after eating.

Immediate-release tablets of prednisone are available in generic form in the United States. Delayed-release tablets are available in generic or branded form (Rayos).

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What is Prednisone Used For?

Prednisone has a mechanism of action that impacts the immune system, triggering the presentation of many potential side effects. The drug reduces inflammation and can be used as either an anti-inflammatory agent or an immunosuppressive agent.

Prednisone in delayed-release form is approved by the FDA to treat various conditions, including:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Colitis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Eye inflammation
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Psoriasis
  • Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count)
  • Lung disease
  • Eye ulcers
  • Lupus
  • Dermatitis
  • Anemia
  • Bursitis


This medication is sometimes prescribed to alleviate organ rejection after a kidney transplant. Prednisone can reduce immune system response to the transplanted kidney.

Although it is not a controlled substance, prednisone is not available in the U.S. without a supporting prescription.

Potential Common Side Effects of Taking Prednisone

Most of the common side effects triggered by prednisone are mild, especially when small doses of the medication are used short-term. Side effects may last a few days, or they may persist for a few weeks. If the side effects do not dissipate after a few weeks, or if they worsen, consult your prescribing physician.

Women and more likely than men to experience side effects after taking prednisone.

The most reported prednisone side effects besides prednisone addiction include are:

Don’t Let Prednisone Addiction Hold You Back

Detox from Prednisone with Gratitude Lodge

Serious Prednisone Side Effects

The most serious side effects typically occur if prednisone is taken in larger doses, or if the medication is taken long-term. These include:


  • Allergic reactions: If you experience itching, skin rashes, hives, swelling of the lips or tongue, or you have problems breathing, seek emergency medical care.

  • Gastrointestinal complications: Taking prednisone increases the risk of gastric ulcer formation, GI bleeding, and gastritis. The risk is further heightened if prednisone is taken in combination with ibuprofen, an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug).

  • High blood sugar levels: You should monitor your blood sugar levels regularly while taking prednisone. The medication can increase fasting blood sugar, especially serious for those with type-2 diabetes. Blood sugar levels typically normalize when prednisone is discontinued.

  • Risk of infection: If you take prednisone, this heightens the chance of developing potentially life-threatening infections. Large doses of prednisone taken for the purpose of immunosuppression further raise the risk.

  • Cardiovascular issues: Taking prednisone can cause fluctuations in levels of phosphate, calcium, and potassium, triggering high blood pressure levels and heartbeat irregularities. If you take medium to high doses of prednisone, you risk developing premature atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by an accumulation of cholesterol in your arteries.

  • Muscle weakness: Corticosteroids like prednisone can lead to weakness in arm and leg muscles.

  • Bone loss: Long-term use of prednisone can cause bone loss so severe that it leads to fractures. Most people will lose some bone mass during the first year of prednisone therapy.

  • Skin complaints: Even low doses of prednisone can trigger skin issues like acne, skin thinning, hair thinning, redness, and compromised wound healing.

  • Cushing syndrome: An excess of cortisol in the body can provoke Cushing syndrome. Fatty tissue is redistributed, settling around the midsection and in the face.

  • Vision changes: Blurred vision is a common but mild side effect associated with prednisone. A more serious concern is the increased risk of developing cataracts in both eyes if prednisone is taken in doses exceeding 10mg for periods of more than one year. Glaucoma and optic nerve damage may also occur as a result of long-term corticosteroid use.

Withdrawal Symptoms When Detoxing from Prednisone

Prednisone withdrawal differs from withdrawal from addictive drugs. Detoxing from the medication does not cause psychological cravings, but it is disruptive to physical functioning.

The most common symptoms of prednisone withdrawal include:

  • Joint pain
  • Weakness
  • Body aches
  • Severe fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Low blood pressure
  • Darkening skin color
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Inflammation 

Symptoms may vary in intensity and duration, lasting from a few days to a few months after discontinuing use. The duration and severity of prednisone withdrawal symptoms typically correlate with the dose and duration of prednisone use. If you’re concerned about how to manage prednisone withdrawal, reaching out to a qualified detox center will provide you with the resources and support to help you withdraw comfortably. 

Prednisone Withdrawal Timeline

Prednisone is classified as a glucocorticoid, a synthetic steroid that is similar to cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands that is sometimes referred to as the stress hormone.

In addition to managing stress, cortisol is also used by the body to regulate blood pressure and heart rate.

In the absence of medication, your body will maintain consistent levels of cortisol. If you take a medication like prednisone, though – especially when taken long-term – your body will cut back on cortisol production to compensate. When you stop taking the medication, your body will be unable to produce enough cortisol for days or even weeks after discontinuing use. During this period, you will be suffering from adrenal insufficiency.

A woman thinking about how to reverse the effects of prednisone


How long does prednisone stay in your system?

Prednisone’s half-life (amount of time before half the drug leaves your body) is about 2-3 hours. However, it may take a few days or more for the drug to completely leave your system. 

Do prednisone side effects go away on their own?

While most prednisone side effects typically go away on their own after stopping the drug, it’s essential to reach out to a doctor if you continue to experience symptoms after discontinuing use. 

Why is prednisone so hard on the body?

Taking prednisone can be hard on the body because of its immune-suppressing effects. While the drug can be extremely helpful as a treatment, it’s also important that your doctor monitors your health as the risk of infection and illness increases while on the drug. 

How to Recover Safely from Prednisone Withdrawal

While prednisone withdrawal is not as severe as withdrawal from opioids, benzos, or stimulants, symptoms can still be distressing. Some of the most effective strategies for recovering safely from prednisone withdrawal include:

  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Physical therapy
  • Counseling


If you have been using prednisone for less than three weeks, your prescribing physician may advise that a tapered reduction in dosage is unnecessary. Those who have been taking prednisone for a year, by contrast, may require a taper that takes two months or more.

A tapered withdrawal is not something to be conducted without medical supervision. While withdrawing from prednisone, you need to give your adrenal glands time to recalibrate and increase production of cortisol.

By engaging with a supervised medical detoxification at a licensed medical detox center, you can initiate a prednisone detox under optimum conditions. We can help you get through prednisone side effects of detox safely and comfortably at Gratitude Lodge in Southern California.

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Tapered Prednisone Detox at Gratitude Lodge in Orange County

By heading to Gratitude Lodge in Southern California to kickstart your recovery from prednisone, you can benefit from a supervised medical detox in a luxury beachside setting. Your treatment team can conduct a tapered reduction in your dosage, prescribing medications to mitigate withdrawal symptoms.

Once you have detoxed, you can transition into an ongoing inpatient or outpatient treatment program. If you have developed substance use issues or mental health issues while using prednisone, you can address these in one of the following programs:

Your treatment team will help you to unpack all your issues with mental health and addiction through a personalized array of the following interventions:

  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Psychotherapy (talk therapy)
  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapy


When you are ready to withdraw from prednisone safely and comfortably, reach out for professional help by calling Gratitude Lodge at 800-994-2184.


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Detox from Prednisone and Start Fresh