Prednisone and Alcohol

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Prednisone is a corticosteroid is an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant drug. Prednisone is used for range of inflammatory conditions such as allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, or asthma.

Prednisone and alcohol


Prednisone is available in the form of tablets, a liquid solution to be taken orally. It is usually advised to take this drug with food to prevent stomach upset. Prednisone is prescribed one to four times a day or only one dose a day.

The most common side-effects after ingestion of prednisone are stomach pain, rapid weight gain, facial swelling, acne, dry skin fatigue, blurred vision, dizziness, depression or anxiety, nausea, and sleep disorders.

Prednisone being an immunosuppressant it increases the susceptibility to infections. It may also slow down a child’s growth if taken for long period of time.

Prednisone should never be stopped abruptly. If the drug is taken for more than seven days, adrenal suppression occurs. This decreases the ability of the body to produce natural corticosteroids which is temporary. Hence the stoppage of prednisone must be done gradually. This will prevent the dependency of body to the drug.

Antiplatelet drugs, blood thinners, NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), and even alcohol may interact with prednisone.

Prednisone and Alcohol interaction:

  1. There are no known facts that prednisone and alcohol can lead to severe distress. However their individual action in body may possess danger if taken together. Either one of them could aggravate the primary medical condition.
  1. Their interaction can affect individuals in varied way. Some may have severe side-effects and few others won’t suffer from any side-effect.
  1. Alcohol and prednisone taken together may increase the intensity of the side-effects produced by prednisone.
  1. Before adopting prednisone in first line of treatment a doctor investigates about following illnesses in the patient’s medical history. Prednisone may exaggerate them and combining it with alcohol can altogether increases the danger. The risk of fatal reaction increases in the individuals with heart disease, high blood pressure, low potassium level, thyroid disorder, diabetes, tuberculosis, glaucoma, depression and osteoporosis.
  1. Certain side-effects such as blurred vision, sleep disorder, dizziness, fatigue, nausea are also caused with alcohol intake. Hence if a patient drinks on a regular basis, doctors advise to avoid alcohol when prednisone is first prescribed. It is important to distinguish whether the side-effects of prednisone from alcohol.
  1. Prednisone and alcohol both are metabolized by liver. Their interaction may overload the liver and can be harmful possessing serious side effects if taken for longer duration. So, if a patient is a chronic alcoholic, doctors advise investigations for liver enzymes. Liver enzymes are important in breaking down of prednisone to prednisolone. Alcohol decreases these enzymes. Hence before advising prednisone to such patient, the levels are checked in order to prescribe it or any other corticosteroid.
  1. Patients with liver disorders such as hepatitis A, B or C may suffer potential danger when combining prednisone and alcohol.
  1. Both are a known irritant for gastric lining and when consumed together can cause gastric ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding.
  1. Patients suffering from gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcerative colitis, crohn’s disease are treated with prednisone. Intake of alcohol with ongoing prednisone treatment plan may worsen these disorders. Combining both of them is not advisory.
  1. Prednisone and alcohol suppresses the immune system. When prednisone is prescribed for certain autoimmune disorders, combining the two may worsen the already compromised immune system. There might be increased risk of various infections, since the fighting capacity against them decreases due to the action as immunosuppressant.Prednisone interacts with insulin secretion. Hence can cause increase in glucose level. As alcohol also raises glucose, taking prednisone and alcohol together may prove harmful.
  1. Bones may become brittle leading to early onset of osteoporosis when alcohol and prednisone are taken together.

Since there are varied interactions noted with prednisone and alcohol together, the patient is always advised to monitor himself regularly for any distress report it to the health care provider.