Is prednisone used to treat depression? (yes or no)

In this article, we will answer the question, is prednisone used to treat depression or not.

Prednisone, derived from cortisone, is a synthetic, anti-inflammatory glucocorticoid. It is biologically inert and in the liver, it is converted to prednisolone. Prednisone is an FDA approved, delayed-release corticosteroid indicated as an anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive agent for the treatment of a wide range of diseases, including immunosuppressive/endocrine, rheumatic, collagenic, dermatologic, allergic, ophthalmic, respiratory, hematologic, neoplastic, gastrointestinal (GI), acute multiple sclerosis exacerbations and anti-inflammatory (MS) disorders (cortisone-like medicine or steroid). To help reduce swelling, redness, itching, and allergic reactions, it acts for the immune system.

Is prednisone used to treat depression?

Prednisone prevents symptoms such as allergic reactions, skin conditions, lupus, breathing problems, arthritis, and ulcerative colitis for autoimmune disorders. Not a lot of research has been done on the effects of prednisone and depression. Studies have shown that prednisone helped with depression whereas others showed that prednisone caused depression and anxiety in patients.

Research that supports the claim

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis disorders have long been implicated in major depression, with hypercortisolemia reported in some studies of atypical depression in traditional depression and hypocortisolemia. In treatment-resistant depressed patients with decreased plasma cortisol concentrations, we report on the use of prednisone. Six patients were found to complain of extreme fatigue, consistent with major depression, atypical subtype, and low plasma cortisol levels in treatment-resistant major depression. Prednisone was applied to the antidepressant regimen at 7.5 mg regular. Five out of six patients showed a noticeable improvement in prednisone depression with improved antidepressant therapy. While some patients with depression have been affected by hypercortisolemia, our findings indicate that hypocortisolemia may also play a role in some subtypes of this condition.

Research that denies the claim

All medications come with side effects, some good ones, some bad ones. The prednisone corticosteroid is no exception. Prednisone has anti-inflammatory effects that are life-saving. But it’s also understood that this miracle medicine has sinister side effects.

Most doctors will alert patients to weight gain, growth of body hair, insomnia, acne, nausea, headache, and fat redistribution to different parts of the body. Your bone density will still be influenced by corticosteroids.

Very few patients, however, are warned of prednisone’s psychological side effects, and patients may be shocked and confused.

Prednisone affects regions of the brain that control the regulation of the “feel-good” hormones of various neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. A great side effect some people feel with prednisone is feeling happy. Other responses, particularly if you don’t know what to expect, are more menacing. The delayed impact that prednisone had on me was surprising and alarming.

According to a December 2013 study, an adverse psychological reaction occurs in 1 percent of patients who take a dose greater than 40 mg. Females could be at an elevated risk. The higher the dosage, the risk of a psychiatric reaction is greater. The risk increases to 18.4 percent at 80 mg. I was a high-dose user, beginning at 70 mg, and falling 10 mg per 3 days.

A case study describes a 45-year-old woman who has no previous mental disorder background. She was undergoing prednisone medication and began to experience extreme mood swings. She had similar symptoms to extreme bipolar disorder. Her clinical disorder was found to be prednisone-induced.

Prednisone can cause mood swings

The corticosteroid used to alleviate inflammation in the body is prednisone. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), certain autoimmune diseases, asthma, and other allergic disorders are some of the conditions that prednisone is used to treat. It’s an effective medication, it’s cheap, and for certain conditions, a lot is prescribed.

An individual might need to take prednisone for a limited time only (often referred to as a “short course”) or it may be prescribed for an extended period. In either case, it can have mood effects that have been identified as anything from anxiety, frustration, and depression to euphoria.

In rapid succession, these feelings will pinball back and forth and seem to come about for no cause and without provocation. In other words, a person receiving prednisone can feel extremely depressed or angry and have no idea why.

More extreme conditions including psychotic disorders, delusions, and dementia have been linked with prednisone.

The condition should be reported to a doctor immediately when there is a concern that the changes have gone beyond a mood or a feeling and have become a concern that restricts life activities or appears unsafe in some way.

Prednisone-cause mood changes usually go away until a person stops taking the drug. The discontinuation of prednisone, however, must be performed gradually and according to the schedule recommended by a doctor. Tapering off prednisone slowly is also always important because a change in care might be needed.

The adrenal glands produce cortisol, a prednisone-like substance, and they need to be given the opportunity to take over development once again. If not, side effects like fatigue may occur, or complications may occur.

Short courses of Prednisone can cause mild mania

For dermatological disorders, short courses of corticosteroids, such as prednisone, are also prescribed. Psychiatric side effects are well known but not well characterized, such as mania, depression, and psychosis. In the study of the psychological effects of corticosteroids, 60 outpatients with asthma (44 women; mean age, 47) participated. A prednisone course was described for the study as at least 40 mg daily for at least 7 days. Subjects taking mood disorder medication were enrolled, but no changes in dosage during the study were permitted. To assess baseline evidence of depression, manic symptoms, and general psychiatric symptoms, several psychiatric questionnaires were administered. Thirty-two subjects were evaluated during prednisone therapy for mood improvement, 23 of which were also assessed after discontinuation of prednisone (mean duration of treatment, 14 days).

The 32 subjects reported substantial rises in the symptoms of mania after taking prednisone for 3 to 7 days, but the severity of the symptoms was graded as moderate. Symptom tests returned to baseline levels 10 days on average after discontinuation of prednisone treatment, except for lower depression ratings (suggesting improved mood). During care, demographic factors were not associated with mood shifts, except that males displayed increased depression compared with females. There was no increased risk of experiencing depression in people with current or past depression. Increases in depression and memories of traumatic experiences have been documented by some patients with posttraumatic stress disorder.

What is Prednisone used for

Prednisone is used in the treatment of conditions such as arthritis, blood disorders, issues with breathing, extreme allergies, skin infections, cancer, problems with the eyes, and disorders of the immune system. Prednisone is in a family of medicines known as corticosteroids. To reduce symptoms such as swelling and allergic-type reactions, it reduces the response of your immune system to different diseases.

Effect of Steroids like Prednisone and Bipolar disorder

It is extremely unlikely that single-use steroids would induce some form of mental disorder. Rather, these rare psychological side effects can be caused by the prolonged and steady administration of steroids. By her own account, Pauley was taking steroids for five months before the mood swings started.

A 2006 meta-analysis found psychological side effects that are common from steroid use, with the most common being hypomania and euphoria. However, long-term usage has been linked to depression. The severity of the adverse effects was also found to be related to the dose.

According to a 2003 case study, although the underlying mechanism is still uncertain, the adverse psychological effects associated with the use of corticosteroids can be reversible with the reduction of the dosage or removal of the medicine. Treatment of psychiatric symptoms, however, is also required.

Single-use steroids are unlikely to create any sort of psychiatric disturbance, according to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Henry Lahmeyer.

Rather, it is the prolonged and steady administration of steroids that can cause these psychological side effects more frequently. On her account, for five months before the mood swings started, Pauley was taking steroids.

Another 2004 research also found that “selective antidepressant and anticonvulsant drug treatments” such as Eskalith, can avoid some of the changes observed in the hippocampus (lithium).

Common side effects of Prednisone

There may be nausea, vomiting, appetite loss, heartburn, difficulty sleeping, increased sweating, or acne. There are no significant side effects for many people who take this drug.

If any of these unlikely but severe side effects arise, notify your doctor immediately: muscle pain/cramps, rapid heartbeat, fatigue, swelling of the hands/ankles/feet, uncommon weight gain, signs of infection (such as fever, constant sore throat), vision issues (such as blurred vision), stomach/intestinal bleeding symptoms (such as stomach/abdominal pain, black/tarry stools, vomit that appears close to stomach/intestinal bleeding).

Your blood sugar can rarely increase with this drug, which can cause or intensify diabetes. If you have signs of elevated blood sugar, such as increased thirst/urination, inform your doctor immediately. If you already have diabetes, frequently monitor your blood sugar as recommended and share your results with your doctor. Your doctor may need to change the drug, exercise regimen, or diet for your diabetes.

Prednisone is not a medicine given to treat depression, other antidepressants are more likely to be prescribed by your doctor, like Citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), etc. 

In this article, we answered the question, is prednisone used to treat depression or not.

FAQs: Is prednisone used to treat depression?

Is prednisone a mood enhancer?

The advantages of prednisone and other corticosteroids are experienced by many people as they boost mood, producing a feeling of euphoria and excess energy.

Are steroids good for depression?

Neuroactive steroids such as allopregnanolone in historically treatment-resistant populations, including anorexia nervosa, may be possible therapeutic targets for depression and anxiety.

Can prednisone help with?

Prednisone is used in the treatment of conditions such as arthritis, blood disorders, issues with breathing, extreme allergies, skin infections, cancer, problems with the eyes, and disorders of the immune system. Prednisone is in a family of medicines known as corticosteroids.

What kind of medication is used to treat depression?

The most popular class used for depression today is this generation of antidepressants. Citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), and sertraline (Paxil, Pexeva) are instances (Zoloft).

What should you not eat when taking prednisone?

Prednisone tends to boost blood glucose or sugar levels, which in certain people can cause increased body fat or diabetes. Easy carbohydrates and concentrated sweets, such as cakes, pies, cookies, preserves, honey, chips, slices of bread, candy, and other foods that are highly refined, should be avoided.

Does prednisone make you crazy?

For dermatological disorders, short courses of corticosteroids, such as prednisone, are also prescribed. Psychiatric side effects are well known, such as mania, depression, and psychosis.


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!