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Prednisone (Deltasone®) medication is a corticosteroid immunosuppressant used to treat a variety of diseases. Liver transplant recipients use it to prevent or treat organ rejection. Prednisone may be used in low doses for long-term immunosuppression or in higher doses for treatment of rejection.
Rejection occurs when the body recognizes the transplanted organ as foreign, and attacks the organ as if it were a harmful intruder. Prednisone prevents or treats rejection by suppressing the body’s immune response.
Prednisone is taken orally and is available as a liquid or in tablet form. Tablets are available in many concentrations, including 20-, 10-, and 5-mg doses. Usually, 5-mg tablets are prescribed, regardless of the total dose, so that – if your doctor changes your child’s prednisone dosage – you can simply change the number of tablets your child takes to equal the newly prescribed amount.
Prednisone should never be taken on an empty stomach. It is usually best to take it in the morning, after breakfast and before 9 a.m. If your child needs to take prednisone more than once a day, be sure he or she eats before taking the other doses.
If your child misses a dose of prednisone, call your coordinator for advice.
Notify your transplant coordinator if your child is unable to take prednisone because of vomiting, inability to swallow, or other reasons. The coordinator can help arrange for your child to receive prednisone intravenously.
Common side effects of prednisone include:
Rare side effects include:
Tell your transplant doctor or pharmacist about any prescription or over-the-counter medication your child is taking, so that you can be warned of interactions and prevent them. Notify your coordinator if any medications are discontinued or any new medications are prescribed.
Store prednisone at room temperature.
Take prednisone exactly as prescribed. It is best to take prednisone in the morning, to decrease side effects.
Never stop or reduce the dosage of prednisone unless your transplant surgeon or coordinator tells you to do so. Sudden withdrawal of prednisone can be life threatening.
Avoid alcohol. Some parents allow their children a moderate amount of alcohol during religious or other special occasions, but this is not permitted for an immunosuppressed child or teen. Ask your doctor’s advice when choosing a cough syrup for your child, as some syrups contain alcohol.
To prevent an ulcer, your child may be required to take an antacid during the period he or she is on steroids.
We recommend that patients wear a medical alert bracelet or pendant (such jewelry is marketed under the name Medic Alert) that says "Taking steroids."
Prednisone is routinely stocked in most U.S. pharmacies.
Drug information changes periodically. For the most updated information on drugs, visit www.drugs.com.
Learn more about other Liver Transplant Drugs.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
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Interested in giving to Children's Hospital? Visit Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation's website to make a donation online.