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Is Prednisone a Steroid?

Is Prednisone a Steroid?

Your doctor tells you, “I’m going to prescribe a steroid.”

You might think, “What? Why did my doctor give me a steroid? Isn’t that for bodybuilders or something? I don’t want to be on steroids!”

This is a common confusion based on the word, steroid. Throughout this article, find out the types of steroids and how prednisone is one type of steroid.

Is Prednisone a Steroid?

There are 2 types of steroids:

Prednisone belongs to the Glucocorticoid type which means it mimics cortisol, the stress hormone your body normally releases when you’re struggling with something extremely stressful, like a tiger coming to chase you down in the forest, or not being able to eat.

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What is Prednisone mainly used for?

We all know that prednisone is a type of medicine used to help those patients who are suffering from inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Prednisone is a drug prescribed often for a long list of conditions. This drug is considered a lifesaver and miraculously relieving for conditions such as pneumonia, organ transplants, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

Prednisone Chemical Structure

This is prednisone. This is what it looks like when you see the chemical structure in the medicinal chemistry lab, t. There’s hydrogen and oxygen. That’s the H and the O and those little black lines represent carbon. It is an amazing miraculous drug for people for a lot of conditions. And it mimics other structures that look just like this in your body. Those four rings hooked together make up the base of all Steroids.

Are prednisone and steroids the same thing?

As mentioned, there are 2 types of steroids.

  1. Anabolic Steroids: commonly used by bodybuilders in building their muscles and do increase male sex characteristics.
  2. Glucocorticoids: which prednisone belongs to! Glucocorticoid means it is messing with glucose and other systems in your body to help with inflammation and dealing with stress.

When taking prednisone, your body is taking the emergency fight! Those crazy feelings and horrible side effects that some may be experience long-term. Another is the amount is way higher than your body could have ever made on your own.

What is Cortisol?

Shown below is a sample picture of a chemical in your body. Prednisone mimics cortisol. It is replacing the cortisol in your body to help you get better from some condition, whether it’s pneumonia or a bleeding condition like mine, or maybe to help you with cancer or a transplant; lots of reasons.

Cortisol is a hormone that keeps us alive by helping regulate our “fight or flight” reaction and does so through increasing the wear and tear.

Cortisol also looks like other things in our body and looks like other hormones like.

  • Progesterone–that’s the female hormone that is really high during pregnancy.
  • Testosterone is the main male hormone.

All steroids have this chemical structure. They all have a heterocyclic ring. Those six-sided rings that are connected that makes it a steroid. But prednisone is not the same kind of steroid as testosterone. Prednisone is a certain kind of steroid (glucocorticoid) and testosterone and other bodybuilder hormones are anabolic steroids. This is what people take, who want big muscles want or those who want to show off for the gym; who want to have weird changes to their voice and facial hair.

prednisone as steroids?

If women take it, there are other things like testosterone that they can inject, or take as a pill, or rub as a cream, or lots of ways. Those are all steroids, but they’re not the same kind of steroid as prednisone.

Other Terms for Steroid

Let me show you the other type of word to represent the type of steroids; these are other names. Steroid hormones were all of those glucocorticoids is the specific type of steroid hormone that prednisone is that’s the type of class it is.

Glucocorticoid helps blood sugar regulation

So glucocorticoid means it’s helping with glucose and blood sugar regulation. That’s why one of the number one side effects is high blood sugar. Then another word for it is corticosteroids. That’s talking about the adrenal cortex, cortico cortex, the adrenal cortex that helps your body regulate stress. So that’s why it’s helpful when you’re sick to take prednisone because it’s helping you deal with that kind of stress.

Endocrine Hormone

Then mixing those two words together as glucocorticosteroid, and finally, all of these hormones that signal to other parts of the brain are part of the endocrine system. So prednisone is also called an endocrine hormone. Prednisone is not an anabolic steroid. Prednisone is not for bodybuilders because it will do the opposite. It will waste weight your muscles!

So now you know that prednisone is a steroid. But steroid means a lot of things, and it is not only a bodybuilder hormone.

If you’re taking prednisone and you’re struggling with side effects. You may get your free prednisone wellness checklist by signing up the form below.

It will give you tips on what you can do to help combat the side effects, to know when to talk to your doctor and to find ways to deal with those side effects.

Free Prednisone Checklist

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Dr. Megan Milne, PharmD, BCACP

Dr. Megan Milne, PharmD, BCACP, is an award-winning clinical pharmacist board certified in the types of conditions people take prednisone for. Dr. Megan had to take prednisone herself for an autoimmune condition so understands what it feels like to suffer prednisone side effects and made it her mission to counteract them as the Prednisone Pharmacist.

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