Prednisone is a type of oral corticosteroids that is used to reduce inflammation. It is a synthetic version of cortisol, which is a natural anti-inflammatory hormone found in human bodies. It works by decreasing one’s immune system. Since one of the causes for eczema is thought to be an over-active immune response,prednisone is often prescribed to treat full-body eczema.
For eczema sufferers, prednisone can be a miracle and a nightmare at the same time. First-time users of prednisone might be amazed at how fast this drug clears up inflammation and eliminates itchiness. But such wondrous results come at a cost. Some of the most common side effects of prednisone are:
- Feeling of bloating
- Lack of sleep
- Insatiable appetite
- Cushing’s Syndrome, or having a “moon face”
Despite the side effects, not being itchy all the time is a welcome respite for many eczema sufferers. Plus, not everyone experiences the same side effects and there are varying degrees of how severe they can be.
To reduce the side effects of prednisone to a minimum, it is best to take it after a meal to avoid stomach upset, and to try to take it at the same time each day. Also, take it exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If the dosage calls for tapering, it is very important to follow the instructions carefully.
When you are on prednisone, your skin will generally clear up within a few days. This is a great time to build some good skin care habits. Prednisone only reduces inflammation but it does not take care of dry skin. Since you won’t have to worry about the itch while on this drug, take care of the dry skin by applying a good moisturizer. Also try the things you might have been too frazzled to do while your skin was bad, like making a carrot juice or going for a walk.
When you get off prednisone, it is likely that your eczema will rebound, but once you have some good skin care regimen in place, the transition will be less difficult.