Common Question: Prednisone Dosage?
One of the most common questions I get is, “Is my prednisone dosage normal?” It’s a hard question to answer because the truth is, there is no such thing as a normal prednisone dosage.
Factors to Consider
I can’t answer this question until you answer two more questions:
- What are you using it for?
- How bad is your condition?
Because prednisone can be used for so many different reasons, that affects what is expected for your situation. Doctors from any specialty can prescribe prednisone to help with inflammation. The dose the doctor prescribes depends on which diagnosis and how bad of a situation.
Prednisone Dosing Principle
The adage, “Use the lowest effective dose for the shortest period of time,” guides prednisone dosages. While this is true for all drugs, it is especially true for prednisone because of the high risks of side effects. Only take prednisone if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Use the lowest effective dose for the shortest period of time.
High – Multiple Sclerosis Vision Loss
The worst, most acute or life-threatening situations receive the highest dosage for a short time. For example, when a person with multiple sclerosis (MS) suddenly loses vision, the neurologist doctor usually prescribes an extremely high dose of around 1000 mg a day for only a few days. That high of a dose is justified for preventing permanent blindness. Giving a super high dose for only a few days is called a bolus. But doctors rarely prescribe that high of a dose for more than a few days at a time because of the high risks of side effects.
Usually the vision will return to normal and the person with multiple sclerosis will stop taking prednisone. The MS flare dies down and the emergency is over.
Low – Rheumatoid Arthritis
The opposite side of the spectrum is using a low dose for a long time. For example, people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) often use prednisone 5-10 mg per day for years. The RA causes so much pain and disability to justify continued use over a long time.
Five Day Prednisone Dosage Taper
For emergency situations like breathing problems, rashes, or various types of pain, doctors often prescribe a short-term prednisone taper. This usually starts at prednisone 40 mg.
- Day 1 – Prednisone 40 mg (for example, two 20 mg tablets)
- Day 2 – Prednisone 30 mg (#1.5 20 mg tablets)
- Day 3 – Prednisone 20 mg (#1 20 mg tablet)
- Day 4 – Prednisone 10 mg (half of a 20 mg tablet)
- Day 5 – Prednisone 5 mg (1/4 of a 20 mg tablet)
- Day 6 – Stop (Prednisone 0 mg)
This dosage taper listed above is typical but could be changed in many ways. Perhaps your doctor prescribes each dose for a week instead of a day. Or your doctor could use prednisone 10 mg tablets instead of 20 mg tablets. Your doctor could prescribe 40 mg every day for five days and then stop. Or the doctor could start at 20 mg and drop by 5 mg each day. All of these and many more are typical and normal prednisone dosages.
Read more about Prednisone Tapers here.
Prednisone Tablet Dosage Strengths
Manufacturers make prednisone in the following dosage strengths.
- Prednisone 1 mg tablet
- Prednisone 2.5 mg tablet
- Prednisone 5 mg tablet
- Prednisone 10 mg tablet
- Prednisone 20 mg tablet
- Prednisone 50 mg tablet
They created so many dosage options to enable very high doses (over 50 mg) and very small doses (less than 5 mg). Tapers require dosage reductions of small amounts which may require the use of 1 mg tablets.
Watch this Video
Find out some typical prednisone dosages in this video.
Get Help No Matter the Dosage
No matter which dosage of prednisone your doctor prescribes, I want to help you. I created the Prednisone Checklist to help you cope with prednisone side effects.
Balance Your Health By Changing The Things That Are In Your Control To Change
* Discover exactly how to have the good effects outweigh the side effects
* 25+ tips for how to get your life back while taking this horrible, miracle drug
* The top 15 side effects of prednisone and what YOU can do about it.
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