How Well Does Prednisone Work in Asthma?

What is Prednisone?

Prednisone is a steroid medication that is taken for the treatment of asthma. A corticosteroid, prednisone is available in the liquid or oral form and works on the immune system by reducing the inflammation of the airways. Prednisone is generally prescribed when you end up in the emergency room or get hospitalized due to a particularly severe asthma attack, though it can be prescribed for the long-term as well if you have severe asthma or if your asthma is hard to control with other medications. Prednisone is not typically used on a daily basis, but when you have a flare-up of asthma symptoms, it can come in handy. Prednisone works by reducing the inflammation in your airways. When your airways are inflamed, this causes the bronchi in your lungs to constrict, thus making it difficult to breathe. Prednisone also lowers your immune system’s response to reduce symptoms, such as allergic-type reactions and inflammation. However, in recent times, many people have been asking how well does prednisone actually work in asthma, as there are several side effects that accompany this medication.

How Well Does Prednisone Work in Asthma?

For How Long is Prednisone Prescribed?

Prednisone is generally prescribed for a short period of time and only given for long-term treatment if you have severe asthma or if your asthma is difficult to control with other drugs.

The Important Question: How Well does Prednisone Work in Asthma?

A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine showed the results of six different clinical trials conducted on adults having acute asthma episodes. During the trials, within 90 minutes of arriving at the emergency room, the participants received corticosteroid treatment. It was then found that the groups who received this treatment had a lower hospital admittance rate in the future as compared to the group who received a placebo instead of the medication.

Furthermore, a separate review published in the American Family Physician on the management of acute asthma attacks found that people who received a prescription for oral prednisone for a period of 5-10 days, had a lower risk of relapse of the asthma symptoms. Oral prednisone was administered in a dosage of 50-100 milligrams.

These studies provide ample evidence that prednisone is indeed effective in helping reduce the occurrence of asthma symptoms and works well in Asthma.

What are the Side Effects of Using Prednisone for Asthma Treatment?

Like any medication, prednisone has many side effects associated with it, which is why doctors do not prefer to prescribe it for daily usage. Prednisone drug is well-tolerated only in the short-term basis. Some of the common side effects of prednisone include:

  • Behavioral or mood fluctuations.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Weight gain.
  • Increase in appetite.
  • Nausea or/and vomiting.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Stomach upset or diarrhea.
  • Stomach irritation.
  • Other gastrointestinal problems.
  • Anxiety.
  • Insomnia.
  • Jitters.
  • Negative impact on development or growth if prescribed to children.

In the long term, the side effects of taking prednisone become more serious. Some of the side effects associated with long-term use of prednisone include:

How Long Does Prednisone Take To Treat Asthma?

To treat asthma symptoms fast, sometimes prednisone is prescribed in higher doses for a couple of days. This is known as a steroid burst. Prednisone may also be prescribed in a lower dosage for daily use or for using every alternate day for controlling asthma in the long-term.

What Is The Dosage Of Prednisone To Be Taken To Work For Asthma?

As mentioned above, prednisone is available in either an oral liquid solution or as an oral tablet. Prednisone is similar, but not the same, as methylprednisolone, which is available as an injection. Oral prednisone is generally used in cases of acute asthma as a first-line therapy as prednisone is easier to take and cheaper than other corticosteroids available today.

Prednisone is generally prescribed for 5-10 days. Steroid medications are not generally prescribed for children. In adults, on the other hand, the general dosage is not to exceed 80 mg. The common dosage is 60 mg. Studies have shown that a dosage above 5- to 100 mg per day is not more beneficial than lower dosages.

In case if you miss your prednisone dosage, then it is to be taken as soon as you remember or if it’s already time for the next dose, then the missed dose should be skipped and the next scheduled dose should be taken. Doctors advise against taking an extra dose of prednisone to make up for a dose that has been missed. Prednisone is best taken with food or milk as otherwise it can lead to an upset stomach.

Interaction of Prednisone with Other Medications

There are many medications that interact negatively with prednisone. Therefore, make sure to update your doctor about all the medications you may be already taking. Of particular importance are the following medications:

Is Prednisone The Only Steroid Effective In Asthma?

Apart from prednisone, there are other systemic steroids that are also known to be effective in asthma. These include:

  • methylprednisolone (Brand names: Medrol, Methylpred, Solu-Medrol).
  • prednisolone (Brand names: Prelone, Pediapred, Orapred).
  • dexamethasone (Brand name: Decadron).


Yes, we can safely conclude that prednisone works well in asthma. However, you have to consult your doctor about whether or not prednisone is the correct option for you to take for your asthma. Prednisone is not safe for pregnant women and if you become pregnant while taking prednisone, you will have to inform your doctor immediately. Prednisone has been found to be effective in lowering the recurrence of chronic asthma symptoms and also reduces the chances of hospitalization from an asthma attack. However, be mindful of the fact that prednisone use over a long-term can cause serious side effects.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 30, 2019

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