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Does Prednisone Cause Anemia? Side Effect or Not?

Does Prednisone Cause Anemia? Side Effect or Not?

Does Prednisone Have Any Relation to Anemia?

Prednisone can cause anemia, and at the end of this article, find out what kind of iron supplement I personally use for anemia.

I received this email message today and realized that people need to know how to use my Ultimate List of Prednisone Side Effects for themselves!

Hi Dr. Megan,

Curious if Prednisone has any relation to anemia? I haven’t found anything written about this but curious if you think there is any relation. I’ve been on high doses, low doses, etc. of prednisone and currently tapering down (almost 2 years of the prednisone roller coaster). Over the past two months my bloodwork is showing very low iron (Anemia) due to really heavy periods. I’m wondering if this could be a side affect of the prednisone. Curious to hear what your thoughts may be on that!

Thank you,


After reading her message, I wondered myself. I didn’t actually know off the top of my head whether or not prednisone had a relation to anemia.

To answer her question, I pulled up the Ultimate List of Prednisone Side Effects. I compiled this from five separate sources, making it the most complete, thorough, and comprehensive list of prednisone side effects out there. I don’t have this entire list memorized! That’s why I wasn’t sure, off the top of my head, whether or not prednisone had any relation to anemia.

Instead, I rely on this tool I created to help me figure out whether or not anemia is a true prednisone side effect.

How to Search the Ultimate List of Prednisone Side Effects

First, I pulled up the Ultimate List of Prednisone Side Effects at this Link.

Next, I scrolled down to the Search bar, highlighted in yellow below.

I typed in the Search bar the first few letters of the word, “Anemia.” This narrowed down the list from 128 down to 50 possibilities with “an” in the entry. This is what it looked like:

Search prednisone side effect list

After typing all the letters in the whole word, “Anemia,” it narrowed the list of 128 Common Names of prednisone side effects down to just one, “Showing 1 to 1 of 1 entries (filtered from 128 total entries).”

Search prednisone side effect list for anemia

Can prednisone cause Anemia? Anemia is a Prednisone Side Effect

Finally, it shows that yes, anemia is a documented side effect of prednisone! To answer her question, “Does prednisone cause anemia,” yes. Steroids like prednisone can cause anemia.

Under the Source column, only the numeral “2” is shown. That means only one of the five sources I used to create this tool attributes Anemia to Prednisone as a side effect. That source is Clinical Pharmacology, an online drug database, the one that had the most prednisone side effects listed.

What if I don’t know the Medical Terminology for a Prednisone Side Effect?

What if she wasn’t sure that the term she searched was the correct medical term?

I tried to make it easy, by using the medical or technical term in the “Side Effect” column, and the “Common Name” in the next column. She could have also searched “low blood count” to find it as well.

Does Prednisone Cause Really Heavy Periods?

She also mentioned that she’d had really heavy menstrual bleeding during her period. We can search for that, too!

prednisone causes heavy menstrual bleeding side effect

Typing the word “period” into the search bar shows that yes, prednisone can cause changes in a woman’s period.

This time it shows three different Sources that attribute menstrual irregularities to prednisone as a side effect. Prednisone can cause all sorts of side effects in women. Anything from painful periods (dysmenorrhea) to no period (amenorrhea) to even postmenopausal bleeding are possible!

Use the Ultimate List of Prednisone Side Effects

If you are wondering whether what you are feeling is actually a prednisone side effect, use the Ultimate List of Prednisone Side Effect search tool to find out!

Does Prednisone Cause Low Iron?

Does prednisone steal iron from our bodies?

Prednisone Warrior Sallie

Prednisone doesn’t directly steal iron from our bodies. However, it could indirectly cause low iron.

Prednisone can cause anemia. That can be from low iron. Prednisone can also cause ulcers that can lead to blood loss which can lead to anemia and low iron as well.

What Can I Do About Prednisone Anemia?

If you have anemia from prednisone, definitely work with your doctor to get treatment. Often that involves using an iron replacement supplement.

Taking iron every other day may improve your ability to absorb it. Plus it decreases the side effects of constipation and black stools.

Here’s the kind of iron I personally take, two capsules every other morning on an empty stomach:

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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