How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Prednisolone sodium phosphate belongs to the family of medications called corticosteroids and is used for its ability to reduce inflammation in many parts of the body.

Prednisolone is most often used to treat conditions involving swelling and itching (e.g., allergic reactions) and breathing problems that involve inflamed airways. Other uses include treatment of certain cancers and blood disorders.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than the ones listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each 5 mL of dye-free, colourless to light straw-coloured, raspberry-flavoured solution contains prednisolone base 5 mg (as prednisolone sodium phosphate USP). Nonmedicinal ingredients: disodium edetate, raspberry flavour, methylparaben, purified water, sodium phosphate, and sorbitol.

How should I use this medication?

The dose of prednisolone sodium phosphate solution for children varies widely according to the condition and age of the child being treated. If the condition being treated does not improve or becomes worse after a few days, call your doctor.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

Use an oral syringe to measure each dose of the liquid, as it gives a more accurate measurement than household teaspoons.

If the medication is to be given once daily, it is best to give it in the morning. Take prednisolone with food to avoid stomach upset.

Do not stop using this medication without first checking with your doctor. If prednisolone has been taken for a long period of time, it may be necessary to gradually reduce the dose to avoid withdrawal effects or a return of the symptoms that were being treated.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, and do not refrigerate. Keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take prednisolone sodium phosphate if you:

  • are allergic to prednisolone sodium phosphate or any ingredients of the medication
  • have an untreated systemic fungal infection

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • headache
  • increased appetite
  • muscle weakness
  • nausea
  • sensation of spinning
  • trouble sleeping
  • vomiting

Note: Side effects with oral prednisolone sodium phosphate are minimal if the medication is taken for short periods of time. However, long-term side effects can be experienced if the medication is needed for long periods.

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • decreased or blurred vision
  • frequent urination
  • mood changes
  • signs of increased blood sugar (e.g., fruity odor to breath, increased thirst, increased need to urinate)
  • skin rash

Some side effects may occur only if the medication is used for long periods of time. Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • abdominal or stomach pain
  • acne or other skin problems
  • back or rib pain
  • blue or purplish patch on skin
  • delayed growth
  • diarrhea
  • dryness of mouth
  • false sense of well-being
  • filling or rounding out of the face
  • gradual blurring or loss of vision
  • hunchback
  • menstrual irregularities
  • mood swings
  • muscle cramps or weakness
  • osteoporosis or bone fractures
  • painful, red, or itchy pus-containing blisters in hair follicles
  • personality changes
  • rapid weight gain
  • sensation of pins and needles
  • signs of bleeding (e.g., bloody nose, blood in urine or stools, coughing blood, cuts that don't stop bleeding, unusual bleeding or bruising, black, tarry stools)
  • signs of depression (e.g., poor concentration, changes in weight, changes in sleep, decreased interest in activities, thoughts of suicide)
  • signs of infection (e.g., cough, fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness)
  • swelling of feet or lower legs
  • unusual increase in hair growth

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • convulsions (seizures)
  • signs of heart failure (e.g., decreased heart rate, difficulty breathing, build up of fluid in the legs and ankles)
  • signs of pancreatitis (e.g., abdominal pain on the upper left side, back pain, nausea, fever, chills, rapid heartbeat, swollen abdomen)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Blood pressure: Like other corticosteroids, prednisolone sodium phosphate can cause fluid retention, leading to an increase in blood pressure as the heart has to work harder to push the increased volume through the blood vessels.

If you have high blood pressure, or are at risk of developing high blood pressure, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Bone development: When taken for a long period of time, predisolone contributes to the weakening of the bones and decreased bone growth in children.

Diabetes: Corticosteroids such as prednisolone sodium phosphate may cause an increase in blood sugar levels. People with diabetes may find it necessary to monitor their blood sugar more frequently while using this medication.

If you have diabetes or are at risk for developing diabetes, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Glaucoma: Corticosteroids such as prednisolone sodium phosphate may cause the pressure in the eyes to increase, or cause glaucoma worsen. If you have glaucoma or are at risk for developing glaucoma, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Hormone balance: When taken for a long period of time (more than 2 weeks), corticosteroids such as prednisolone sodium phosphate cause a decrease in the amount of corticosteroid hormone that the body naturally produces. This can cause a number of side effects that are associated with long term use of corticosteroids, including filling or rounding out of the face; weight gain; fluid retention; and swelling of the legs, feet, and hands.

The decrease in corticosteroid production is also the cause of the withdrawal symptoms that occur when this medication is stopped abruptly. If you have been taking this medication for a long period of time, do not stop taking the medication suddenly. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist on how to stop this medication.

Infections: Corticosteroids can reduce your body's ability to fight infections and may hide signs of infection that are developing. Tell your doctor if you are exposed to chicken pox or measles while using this medication, as these illnesses can be more serious and possible fatal for people who are using corticosteroids. If you experience signs of infection such as sore throat, fever, sneezing, or coughing, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Kidney function:. The kidneys help to remove prednisolone sodium phosphate from the body. When kidney function is decreased, there is an increased risk of experiencing side effects. If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Liver function: When the liver is not working well, the effect of corticosteroids on the body is increased and may cause increased side effects. If you have reduced liver function or liver disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Thyroid function: When the thyroid gland is not working well, the effect of corticosteroids on the body is increased and may cause increased side effects. If you have reduced thyroid function (hypothyroidism), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Vaccinations: Vaccinations given while prednisolone is being taken may not provide the anticipated protection from illness. This is due to the action corticosteroids have in reducing the activity of the immune system. Additionally, it is not clear whether vaccinations contribute to nervous system problems when they are given at the same time as prednisolone sodium phosphate.

Generally, it is not recommended to receive vaccinations while you are using corticosteroids. Speak with your doctor if you have any concerns or questions.

Pregnancy: Prednisolone sodium phosphate passes through the placenta during pregnancy and may affect the unborn baby. This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking prednisolone sodium phosphate, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: Children may be more likely to experience the side effects encountered by using large amounts of corticosteroids for long periods of time (e.g., slowing down of growth, delayed weight gain)

The use of this medication by children should be limited to the smallest amount that will be effective. Discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits of the use of this medication by children.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between prednisolone sodium phosphate and any of the following:

  • antacids
  • antidiabetic medications
  • aprepitant
  • "azole" antifungals (e.g., itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole)
  • barbiturates (such as phenobarbital)
  • cyclosporine
  • diuretics (water pills)
  • echinacea
  • estrogens
  • isoniazid
  • macrolide antibiotics (e.g., clarithromycin, erythromycin)
  • mitotane
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS, e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen, and diclofenac)
  • phenytoin
  • pimecrolimus
  • rifampin
  • ritonavir
  • tacrolimus
  • vaccines
  • warfarin

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.