Prednisone and sleeping pills

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Prednisone is an anti-inflammatory drug available only by prescription. It is prescribed for conditions of inflammation such as severe arthritis or psoriasis or in acute conditions such as a respiratory infection. It works as a corticosteroid by blocking some of the body’s response to inflammation but can have side effects including insomnia. When faced with the inability to sleep, many will want to take a natural sleep aid. As with any other supplement or medication, tell your doctor about all medications you are taking before beginning a natural sleep aid.

Chamomile

Chamomile is a flowering plant that looks like a tiny daisy. It has been used as a calming agent for centuries in North America, though it is native to Europe. It may be known as Manzanilla in Central Mexico. It is a primary component in most calming teas but can also be taken as a supplement in capsule or liquid form. Though it has been recommended for children, it should not be given to children due to a slight risk of bacterial contamination but is generally considered safe for adults

Hops

Hops are the female flower of a plant of the Humulus family. It is a primary ingredient in beer brewing but can also be used as a supplement to induce calmness or help combat insomnia. It is particularly useful for insomnia which is accompanied by indigestion because it reportedly has a stomach-soothing quality. According to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a hops-valerian combination has been shown to improve sleep quality in human studies. Hops also may have phytoestrogenic activity and may improve insulin sensitivity. Tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions and medicines you are taking before beginning a sleep regimen with hops.

Valerian

Valerian may reduce the time required to fall asleep without resulting in morning grogginess. According to “Prescription for Herbal Healing,” it should not be taken by those who commonly experience migraine headaches. Long term use is not recommended and it may also have additive effects with prescription sleep aids and should not be taken in combination with other medications without the advice of a physician.

Kava

Kava root is native to the Hawaiian islands and Pacific Rim. It works by relaxing the skeletal muscles and sedating the central nervous system through some activity on the GABA receptors. It should not be combined with prescription sleep aids as it may have additive effects. It also should only be taken for short periods of time as the Food and Drug Administration has expressed some concern about its effects on the liver. People with liver conditions should not take Kava.

IBD: Tips for Managing Steroid Side Effects

When your child receives a diagnosis of IBD, or inflammatory bowel disease, it can be earth shattering in many ways. It’s a frustrating condition to manage and can impact your child’s and family’s quality of life.
While medications to treat IBD have come a long way in the last 15 years to help manage the condition, the unfortunate reality is that they often come with side effects.
Our main goal for treating patients with a new diagnosis of IBD is to get them feeling better quickly by inducing remission. Steroids are often in our first line of treatments because they are effective at reducing IBD symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain.
We typically only need to use steroids for around three months following a diagnosis and about 85-90% of patients’ symptoms respond well to them during this period of time. They can, however, cause side effects for some children.
Because parents frequently ask me how to treat the more common side effects from steroids, I thought it might be helpful to share them here. This is a list of recommendations for managing steroid side effects:
Poor sleep. Steroids can impact your child’s sleep cycle or cause restless sleep. The following suggestions may help:

  • Take steroids in the morning, rather than at night, and at a consistent time
  • Practice good sleep hygiene by turning off electronic devices; keeping regular bedtime; using bed for sleep only
  • Can try melatonin, a natural hormone supplement that can reset your child’s sleep/wake cycles, either over-the-counter (OTC) or with a prescription dose

Weight gain. Steroids can increase your child’s appetite and cause bloating. While the following suggestions may not solve the problem completely, they can make a marked difference:

  • Limit salt intake
  • Make healthy food choices, such as unprocessed foods
  • Daily exercise such as light jogging or walking for 30-60 minutes a day

Mood changes: Steroids may cause your child’s mood to either be anxious or depressed. The best way to help with this is to:

  • Reassure your child that this is normal and a result of the medication
  • Get good sleep
  • Exercise daily
  • Speak to your child’s doctor if mood changes are extreme

Nausea or upset stomach. Steroids can lead to irritation along the stomach lining. You can help this by:

  • Taking a long-acting antacid such as Prilosec or Prevacid once or twice a day
  • Taking steroids on a full stomach
  • Chewing Tums can help with heartburn

Acne. Steroids can cause acne problems for some teenagers. The good news is acne should improve when steroids are stopped. Following good facial hygiene can help:

  • Avoiding cosmetics
  • Washing face before bed, after exercise, etc
  • Taking OTC acne medications like benzoyl peroxide may help

Weakened immune system: While steroids decrease inflammation in the intestines, it also decreases the immune system’s ability to fight bacterial and viral infections. During the period of time that your child is on steroids, you can reduce the risk of infection by:

  • Practicing good hand hygiene
  • Making sure vaccinations are up to date, including a yearly flu shot
  • Steering clear of people who are sick, when possible

It’s important to note that not every child will have every side effect from steroids. In fact, some children may have very minimal side effects. Please contact your child’s doctor if any symptoms seem out of the ordinary.
Some parents also ask about alternative, holistic therapies for their child with IBD. We try to practice evidence based medicine (making informed decisions based on previous research studies) as much as possible but the reality is that many alternative and holistic therapies have not been studied. That does not mean that they can’t or won’t be effective. I do recommend speaking to your doctor about it before trying any complimentary therapies because some supplements can cause unwanted organ toxicity or suppress the immune system further.

If you have questions, or would like to request an appointment, please contact our Schubert-Martin Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center.

Is it safe to drink alcohol while taking prednisone?

Potential risks of using alcohol and prednisone together include:

Gastrointestinal problems

Prednisone can increase the risk of gastrointestinal disturbance. Long-term use of alcohol causes inflammation of the stomach lining, which can lead to stomach ulcers, heartburn, and malnutrition.

People with existing stomach issues, such as heartburn, should avoid using prednisone and alcohol together.

Weakened immune system

Another side effect of prednisone is a weakened immune system, which can make people more vulnerable to infections.

The body may have more trouble fighting off diseases than it usually would. Exposure to measles or chickenpox can cause more severe infection in people taking steroids.

Alcohol also weakens the immune system. Chronic alcohol use can make it easier for people to become ill with pneumonia or tuberculosis, for example. Anyone who takes prednisone and drinks alcohol regularly has a higher risk of developing an infection.

While multiple factors are involved, research suggests that alcohol intake can lead to weight gain in some people. Weight gain is also a possible side effect of prednisone.

Brittle bones

Long-term prednisone use can make the bones weaker and more brittle, leading to osteoporosis. Alcohol use is also a risk factor for osteoporosis, due to loss of nutrients. Having osteoporosis puts a person at risk of severe bone fractures.

Blood sugar changes

Alcohol can cause blood sugar levels to drop, which can be problematic for a person with diabetes. People with diabetes also need to be aware that alcohol can cause inflammation of the pancreas and lead to complications.

Prednisone can increase blood sugar levels. Anyone with diabetes who is taking prednisone may require more insulin or medication to lower their blood sugar.

Prednisone, Oral Tablet

This dosage information is for prednisone oral tablet. All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • the severity of your condition
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

Dosage for endocrine disorders

Generic: Prednisone

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For the immediate-release tablets only: To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different dosing schedule.

Dosage for rheumatic disorders

Generic: Prednisone

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Dosage for multiple sclerosis exacerbations

Generic: Prednisone

  • Form: immediate-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 50 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

For immediate-release tablets only: If you have a sudden return or worsening of your MS symptoms, you may need to take 200 mg once per day for one week. This dosage may then be reduced to 80 mg once per day every other day for one month.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Dosage for skin diseases

Generic: Prednisone

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Dosage for allergies and asthma

Generic: Prednisone

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Dosage for eye diseases

Generic: Prednisone

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Dosage for lung diseases

Generic: Prednisone

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Dosage for blood disorders

Generic: Prednisone

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Dosage for lymphoma and leukemia

Generic: Prednisone

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Dosage for lupus and nephrotic syndrome

Generic: Prednisone

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day, depending on the specific disease and person taking the drug.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Dosage for stomach diseases

Generic: Prednisone

Brand: Rayos

  • Form: delayed-release oral tablet
  • Strengths: 1 mg, 2 mg, 5 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: This may vary from 5 mg to 60 mg per day taken once per day, depending on the condition being treated.
  • For immediate-release tablets only: To reduce side effects, twice the usual dose of this drug may be taken every other morning. This is called alternate day therapy. Do not use alternate day therapy unless prescribed by your doctor.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for children is usually based on weight. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for your child.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

Prednisone and insomnia

So here I am, awake when I should really be sleeping. I was going to say that the insomnia is probably the most annoying side effect of the prednisone I take for my Crohn’s, but I had to rethink that because most of the side effects of prednisone are troublesome. But the lack of sleep really does play havoc in my life. I want to sleep, really I do – I just can’t. It is like my brain won’t shut up and even though I am exhausted; I have all this energy and desire to do things. So since I can’t sleep, I thought that I would write and tire myself out that way.

It is really hard to be on a definite schedule when you have insomnia. I have to wake up early and take my daughter to school and then go to work and be productive. Luckily, I can function without a lot of sleep. But it is a struggle. Sometimes I think that I am a walking zombie – especially by the time I get home because I use up whatever brain function I have at work.

I have been taking a sleeping pill for years now. I don’t always take the whole thing, and when I wean off the steroids I also wean off the sleeping pill. But ever since our move, I really have not been able to sleep – even with a sleeping pill. I have already taken a sleeping pill, and here I am wide-awake. At least it is nice quiet time. I must admit it is kind of peaceful when everybody is asleep and the house is still. In a way, it stills my mind.

I have found that sleep is one of the most important aspects of getting well and feeling good, but unfortunately I have a really hard time getting any sleep. I remember a time when I would get eight plus hours of sleep a night, and now I’m lucky to get five. Even if I fall asleep right away, I usually will wake up within two hours. Some nights, it seems like I wake up every hour.

The sleep thing has become an issue in my marriage too. We can’t sleep together because my waking up all the time wakes my husband up, and then he doesn’t get any sleep either. Knowing that my restlessness is bothersome to him makes me try to lie really still to ensure he can sleep; but this keeps me awake even more. This good news is that we have kind of resolved this problem since we moved back to the U.S. We bought two twin beds to put together to make one giant king size bed. We can separate them at night when we go to sleep. It’s great because now he doesn’t feel me being restless, and I don’t get annoyed with his twitching. I still can’t sleep well but at least he sleeps better.

I better go…I need to get some sleep!

Good night,
Kelly

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