Prednisone is used to treat symptoms of low corticosteroid levels, arthritis, severe allergic reactions, multiple sclerosis, lupus and certain medical conditions that affect the lungs, skin, eyes, kidneys blood, thyroid, stomach and intestines, according to MedlinePlus. It may also be used at times to treat certain forms of cancer. Prednisone works by reducing swelling and redness and by changing the way the immune system functions.
Corticosteroids are usually produced naturally by the body and are needed for normal body functioning. In patients with low levels of corticosteroids, prednisone helps to restore steroid levels to normal. According to MedlinePlus, prednisone is also sometimes used with antibiotics to treat a certain type of pneumonia in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
MedlinePlus notes that prednisone is most often administered in tablet form but also comes as a concentrated liquid solution to be taken by mouth. Usually, prednisone is taken with food in small doses multiple times throughout the day. Each patient's dosage and prescription schedule are different. Because of the side effects related to prolonged prednisone use, doctors strive to adjust patients' dosage levels to the lowest possible effective amounts. Side effects may include headaches, dizziness, extreme changes in mood, difficulty falling or staying asleep, acne, bulging eyes or weak muscles.