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prednisone, glucocorticoid, MS | Multiple Sclerosis News Today | illustration of hands holding pills and capsules

Prednisone for Multiple Sclerosis

Last updated March 30, 2022, by Marisa Wexler, MS 

Fact-checked by Ines Martins, PhD

FAQs about prednisone

For most people with MS, the disease is characterized by relapses, or times when existing symptoms rapidly get worse or new symptoms suddenly appear. These relapses are driven by inflammation in the central nervous system that causes damage. Corticosteroids such as prednisone can be used to decrease this inflammation, thus helping to alleviate the symptoms of acute relapses. Prednisone, however, does not alter the long-term course of the disease.

Prednisone may cause damage to a developing fetus. It should only be taken during pregnancy if the potential benefits of treatment outweigh the risks; these should be discussed in detail between patients and their healthcare providers.

The prescribing information label for prednisone-based therapies does not refer to a direct interaction with alcohol. However, both prednisone and alcohol can cause similar effects on the body, including mood changes, weakening of the immune system, increased blood pressure, and potential liver damage. Consequently, if a person drinks alcohol while taking prednisone, there is a greater likelihood of experiencing these effects. Patients treated with prednisone are therefore advised to ask their healthcare providers about safe alcohol consumption during treatment.

It is difficult to predict when and if MS patients will respond to treatment with prednisone, especially since glucocorticoid therapy is tailored based on the needs of the individual. For most people, symptoms usually ease within a few days of treatment, though there can be a great deal of variability.

An increase in appetite and weight gain are common side effects of prednisone treatment. Though less common, thinning of hair on the scalp is also a potential side effect of treatment with prednisone.

Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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