What Is the Difference Between Prednisolone and Prednisone?

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The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reports that prednisolone is a synthetic drug that is also the active metabolite of prednisone, another synthetic drug. Prednisolone is a glucocorticoid that’s primarily used to treat auto-immune and inflammatory conditions, especially in patients with liver disease who are unable to convert prednisone into prednisolone. Prednisone is a corticosteroid that is most often used as an immunosuppressant drug.

Prednisolone has a low level of mineralocorticoid activity, according to Clinical Pharmacokinetics. This property makes prednisolone effective for treating common conditions such as asthma, cluster headaches, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. Physicians also use prednisolone for other inflammatory conditions, such as Bell’s palsy, pericarditis, multiple sclerosis and ulcerative colitis. Rare conditions that may be treated with prednisolone include pyoderma gangrenosum, temporal arteritis and uveitis.

Physicians most often use low doses of prednisone to treat allergic reactions and higher doses to treat some forms of cancer. Prednisone is also a common treatment for laryngitis, myasthenia gravis, rheumaticdisorders, thyroiditis and tuberculosis. Drugs.com reports that prednisone is an effective part of a regimen for preventing tissue rejection after organ transplants. Prednisone's effectiveness as an immunosuppressant also means that susceptibility to infections is a significant side effect of this drug.