Prednisolone is a medicine that is classified as a steroid and that is commonly used in children to help treat conditions such as asthma and nephrotic syndrome. It is also used in other conditions such as adrenal gland failure and neurological problems. Other types of steroids, eg dexamethasone can be used in conditions such as croup.

What is the usual dose?

Doctors normally prescibe 1-2mg of prednisolone per Kg body weight (maximum of 40mg) to be taken once a day (usually first thing in the morning with food) for 3 days . The length of treatment varies. In PANDAS for example the length of treatment to control a flare is 5 days.

What precautions should I take?

If your child has never had chicken pox, the use of prolonged courses of steroids can predispose them to severe infection if they were to come in contact with someone with active chicken pox.The same applies to measles infection.

What are the side effects?

Steroids can have several side effects including increased appetite,stomach ache (gastritis), changes in mood or personality (eg hyperactivity or aggression), raised blood sugar & raised blood pressure. Longer term use can result in thin skin, poor growth, increased risk of severe infections, diabetes and poor bone density (osteoporosis).

Stopping steroid use

Patient’s who have been on steroids for a long period of time should only come off the steroids slowly and under medical supervision. The abrupt withdrawal of steroids that have been used for a long period of time can have serious consequences.

Authored by: Dr Tim Ubhi

Published: 18th May 2019

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