Do You Take Prednisone All At Once?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses how to properly take your prednisone prescription.

Question

I have been prescribed Prednisone for my eczema, how do I take them? Do I take them all at once if it says to take 4 a day?

Asked by Nana On Apr 15, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Apr 16, 2018

Prednisone can be prescribed as a once-daily dose or multiple times daily. How exactly your prescription directions read will indicate if they are to be taken all at once, or multiple times daily.

  • If your prescription reads, take four tablets by mouth daily, that means that you are to take the tablets all at once.


Prednisone prescriptions that are intended to be dosed multiple times daily will always indicate as such. For example:

  • Take one tablet by mouth four times daily.


Based on how you have it written in your question (take 4 tablets once daily), that would indicate all the tablets at one time, which is the typical dosing for severe eczema. In your instance, you will take 4 tablets in the morning.


Nevertheless, if the directions are ambiguous or you were told conflicting information by your pharmacy or doctor, it is important to clarify with them.


Prednisone

Prednisone is a glucocorticosteroid that is typically used to blunt the immune system when patients are having allergic reactions or to treat other autoimmune diseases.


This medication has been known to cause insomnia which is why it typically recommended being taken in the morning. It can also cause stomach upset so it is typically recommended to be taken with a meal or small snack.


For patients that take prednisone or other glucocorticosteroids for an extended period of time (over two weeks), it is recommended that they slowly taper off the medication when it is recommended by a physician that they stop the medication.


If the glucocorticosteroid is stopped abruptly, it can cause suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (axis), which can lead to an adrenal crisis and be life-threatening. When stopping the steroid, it is typically recommended to reduce the dose by about 10% each week.


While on prednisone, because it is used to turn down the immune system, you may be at greater risk for developing an infection of some sort. It is important to maintain proper hygiene and avoid friends and family who have measles or the chickenpox during your treatment.


Conclusion

Based on the information from your question it appears like your prescriber is recommending a dose of 4 tablets a day. This should be taken all at once in the morning and with a small meal to avoid the potential side effects of prednisone.


Be sure to ask your doctor about tapering off prednisone if you are on it for an extended period of time.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Hayden Gharibyar

Dr. Hayden Gharibyar is a Doctor of Pharmacy graduate from the University of Colorado. His areas of expertise include pharmacovigilance and drug safety.

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