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Arthur Nobile (May 6, 1920 – January 13, 2004) was an American microbiologist and is best known for his isolation and reproduction of the steroids prednisone and prednisolone.
Prednisone is part of a class of drugs known as corticosteroids and is similar to cortisol, a steroid the body produces in the adrenal gland. It reduces inflammation in the body, which is why it is helpful in treating autoimmune conditions characterized by inflammation. It often works quickly to reduce the inflammation and other symptoms of most diseases.
Care must be taken when lessening the dosage of prednisone - a patient should not stop taking it suddenly. The body stops or decreases its own production of cortisol, and slowly tapering the amount of prednisone taken daily allows the body to begin producing it again on its own.
When taking Prednisone or Prednisolone over periods longer than a few weeks care should be taken to reduce your normal salt intact as the drug has been associated with hypertension. Furthermore, the drug taken in significant doses has been associated with stomach bleeding when Aspirin has also been taken. Evidence is also mounting that you should not eat grapefruit as it chemically interacts with the the drug.
Panafcort is one of the registered names of Prednisone, a drug commonly used to reduce inflammation. This is what the leaflet in the box says:
Short term use
When Panafcort is taken for short periods of time it is unlikely to cause any problems. Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following side effects and they worry you:
Long term use
When Panafcort is taken for long periods of time and in high doses the risk of side effects is greater. Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following and they worry you:
• general changes to the body:
- bloating and rounding of the face (moon face)
- weight gain
- redistribution of body fat
- water retention leading to swollen legs and feet, high blood pressure or an irregular heart beat
- cramps or weakness in the muscles of the arms and legs
- slowed growth in children
- irregular menstrual periods.
• changes to the skin:
- red or flushed face
- extra hair growth
- red or purple streaks
- easy bruising
- skin thinning
- increased sweating
- poor wound healing.
• changes to the immune system:
• changes in behaviour:
- excessive mood swings (such as changes in personality)
- anxiety or nervousness
- trouble sleeping.
• changes in eyes:
- decreased or blurred vision
- eyes sticking out too far
Tell your doctor immediately or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital if you notice any of the following symptoms.
These are all serious side effects of Panafcort. You may need urgent medical attention or hospitalisation. Some side effects can only be detected by your doctor. So it is important to visit your doctor for regular check-ups when Panafcort is taken for long periods of time.
Such side effects can include:
The huge list of warnings detailed above associated with Prednisone suggests that the drug can impact many parts of the body. As such, it should be treated with caution and you need to be under the supervision of a doctor. Never over dose yourself thinking the effects out weight the risks.
The following is a personal opinion about Prednisolone. Many of us are taking this drug, few understand its dangers and many GP's are perhaps a little too liberal with its prescription, especially for RD and Lupus. The members Forum also has commentary.