Prednisone is a corticosteroid that can reduce the symptoms of lupus. However, it comes with several severe side effects, making it a challenging medication to manage.
Lupus Warriors are likely familiar with prednisone, or its brand name Rayos. It is the most commonly prescribed corticosteroid to help people with lupus, particularly during periods of high disease activity or flares.
Corticosteroids work quickly to limit the activity of the immune system and decrease inflammation. This causes a dramatic reductions in symptoms including:
- tender joints and muscles
- warm-to-the-touch skin
- skin lesions and rashes
Many lupus treatment plans include it alongside other immune system suppressants and anti-inflammatory medication such as cyclophosphamide or Myophenolate mofetil. Because of this, vulnerability to infection and disease is a major concern for prednisone treatment.
Routes and dose
It is usually given by mouth in a pill at a high dose, often between 5mg-60mg per day. Though, it can be higher. Corticosteroids are toxic, and can damage organs over time. You lupus treatment team will prescribe as low a dose as possible. People often taper their doses (slowly decrease them) over time as symptoms improve. You can read more about steroid tapering here.
When looking to use the medication to mitigate cutaneous lupus symptoms, you can also use a cream or gel form.
Liquid forms may also be injected into muscles (cortisone shots) or delivered via an infusion (pulse steroids).