Prednisone for Kids: 11 Serious Side Effects Busted


Prednisone is a medication that belongs to the class of glucocorticoids. It is one of the most important groups of pharmacological medicine because of its usefulness in dozens of different diseases. Unfortunately, although very useful, prednisone is capable of causing numerous side effects, some of them are unwanted and others very dangerous with the potential risk of death. Greater the dose and time of treatment, the greater the risk of serious adverse effects.

What is Prednisone?

Prednisone is one of several synthetic forms of the hormone cortisol which is produced by the adrenal gland. Cortisol has actions in the metabolism of glucose, fats & proteins, acts on the immune system, aids in growth of bones, has anti-inflammatory action, helps regulate blood electrolytes, helps in healing processes, etc.

Prednisone is 5 times more potent than natural cortisol, which allows it to be used in supraphysiological doses. In high doses, prednisone has powerful anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive action and, therefore, is frequently used in diseases of inflammatory and immunological origin.

11 Must Know Facts About Prednisone for Kids

Before using any medication for your kids, be sure to tell your doctor about any medical conditions or allergies your child may have, medications he/she is using, and other important things about his/her health. These factors may influence how your child should use this medicine.

Prednisone for kids


Some children may experience side effects other than those listed. Consult your doctor if you notice a symptom that worries you while using this medicine.

Eye problems:

Long-term prednisone treatment can lead to glaucoma and possible damage to the optic nerve or cataracts. It can also increase the risk of an eye infection caused by a fungus or virus. Report any changes in vision and any pain, irritation, redness or discharge you see in your child, to your doctor as soon as possible.


This medication may mask some signs of infection, and new infections may occur during treatment with prednisone. If you experience symptoms of an infection (eg, fever, chills, cough, sore throat) or if you come into contact with people who have measles or chicken pox, contact your doctor at most early.

Mental health:


Prednisone, like other corticosteroids, can cause behavioural and personality changes as well as mood swings. These reactions are more likely to occur when you start taking the drug. If you notice these symptoms in your home or in a family member taking this medicine, contact your doctor as soon as possible.


This medication may increase the risk of osteoporosis (fragile bones). Ask your doctor for advice on ways to help prevent osteoporosis. If you take this medicine for a long time, your doctor will monitor your bone density.

Stomach and Bowel Problems:

If you have ulcers in your stomach or bowel, past or present, or ulcerative colitis, talk to your doctor about how this medicine might affect your condition.

Unusual Stress:


If you are under unusual physical stress, your doctor may increase the dose of prednisone in your child during and after this stressful episode.


Taking this medicine at the time of vaccination may reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine and increase the likelihood of certain side effects. Therefore, it is generally recommended that you do not receive a vaccine while taking prednisone, especially if you are taking a high dose.

Slow growth and development of the child:

Since prednisone can slow the growth and development of infants and children, it should not be taken for an extended period if possible. Your child’s doctor will monitor his growth and development closely.

Renal problems:


Prednisone can be used for the treatment of certain kidney problems. This medication may also cause fluid retention and electrolyte changes that affect kidney function. If you experience kidney damage or reduced kidney function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medicine, and how to improve your blood pressure.

Electrolytes and fluids:

If you are taking a large dose of prednisone, you may need to limit your salt intake and take potassium supplements. Ask your doctor if you need any supplements while taking this medicine. In addition, your body may retain a greater amount of fluid, which can cause a rise in blood pressure. Your doctor will check if this is the case by measuring your blood pressure and asking for blood tests to know your electrolyte levels.

Outer body change:

Appearance of purplish red lines on the arms, face, legs, trunk or groin. Unusual excessive hair growth, unusual tiredness or weakness, increased sweating, vomiting, sleep disorders, stunting in children.

Some other common side effects among children- Gastric and duodenal ulcers, reduced glucose tolerance and lower resistance to infections. In long-term treatments: Cushing’s syndrome, faciotroncular obesity with a full moon face, amenorrhea, hirsutism, impotence.


Many medications can cause side effects. It can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed here are not felt by everyone who takes this medicine. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur as most of the side effects listed above do not occur very often, but they could cause serious problems if you do not see your doctor or if you do not receive medical attention.

How to take prednisone:

The dose of prednisone to be used depends on the disease and its severity.

Doses below 15 mg per day have a predominantly anti-inflammatory effect, while doses above 20 mg per day also begin to present immunosuppressive action (inhibition of the immune system). The greater the dose of prednisone, the greater its immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory effect.

Dosage of Prednisone

The daily dose of prednisone usually varies between 5 mg and 80 mg.

The dose of 60 mg per day is usually the most used when an immunosuppressive action is sought. Already the dose of 5 mg to 10 mg is generally common in patients who need prolonged anti-inflammatory treatment.


As the peak of natural cortisol secretion occurs in the morning, the intake of prednisone is usually indicated at this time of day. This practice increases the effectiveness of the drug and interferes less with the natural cortisol cycle. The medication should be taken as a single daily dose.

The greater the dose and the time of treatment, the more common and more intense the side effects are. Treatments for only 1 week rarely cause significant effects, even in high doses. On the other hand, treatments with doses greater than 20 mg that last more than 3 weeks often cause unwanted actions. The same high risk exists with treatments that last for months, even when the doses are low.

Prolonged treatments or with high doses for more than 2 to 3 weeks should only be done when the damage of the disease to be treated is more serious than the possible side effects.

In case your child misses a dose of prednisone, no need to worry or panic. Just call the doctor and take advice.

Also if your child is unable to take the medicine because of vomiting or any other reason, do notify the doctor about this and get proper recommendations.

Warning: Prednisone should not be confused with prednisolone. Both are corticoids and present similar indications and actions. They, however, are different medications (prednisolone is a metabolite of prednisone), with different presentations and the posologies are not necessarily the same.


Prednisone precautions:


  • In case of peptic ulcer, corticosteroid therapy is not contraindicated if anti-ulcer treatment is associated.
  • In cases of ulcerative history, corticosteroid therapy may be prescribed, with clinical monitoring and, if necessary, after fibroscopy.
  • Corticosteroid therapy may promote the occurrence of various infectious complications due in particular to bacteria, yeasts, and parasites. The occurrence of a malignant yellowing is a significant risk.
  • All subjects from an endemic area (tropical, subtropical, southern Europe) should have a parasitological examination of the stool and systematic eradication before steroids.
  • Evidence of an infection may be masked by corticosteroid therapy.
  • It is important, before the start of treatment, to rule out any possibility of visceral foci, especially tuberculosis, and to monitor, during treatment, the appearance of infectious pathologies.
  • In case of old tuberculosis, prophylactic anti-tuberculous treatment is necessary, if there are significant radiological sequelae and if it cannot be ensured that a good 6-month rifampicin treatment has been given.
  • The use of corticosteroids requires particularly appropriate monitoring, especially in the elderly and in cases of ulcerative colitis (risk of perforation), recent intestinal anastomoses, renal failure, liver failure, osteoporosis, and myasthenia gravis.
  • -This medicine is not recommended in combination with sultopride or live attenuated vaccine.

Stopping the medication: Do not stop giving this medicine to your kids without first consulting the doctor. To discontinue prolonged treatment with prednisone, the dose should be reduced gradually as directed by the physician. After long-term treatment with prednisone, discontinuation of the drug may lead to symptoms of cortisone withdrawal, including nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, muscle or joint pain, and general malaise.

Hope this article was of help for all our parents!! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy and Healthy Babies!!