Medicines

Prednisolone for asthma

This leaflet is for parents and carers about how to use this medicine in children. Our information may differ from that provided by the manufacturers, because their information usually relates to adults. Read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.

If your child has been taking Prednisolone for longer than 2-3 weeks, do not stop giving this medicine suddenly, as your child is likely to become unwell.

Name of medicine

Prednisolone (pred-NIS-oh-lone)

There are many common brands of prednisolone available.

Why is it important for my child to take Prednisolone?

Prednisolone is from a family of medicines known as steroids. It is used to help reduce the symptoms of asthma, such as wheeze. If your child has severe asthma, taking prednisolone regularly will help prevent asthma attacks and control symptoms such as wheezing. If your child has had an asthma attack, your doctor may suggest that they take a high dose of prednisolone for a few days, to help them recover. Prednisolone is usually used alongside other asthma treatments such as inhalers.

What is Prednisolone available as?

  • Tablets: 1 mg, 5 mg, 25 mg
  • Soluble tablets: 5 mg
  • Enteric-coated tablets (Deltacortril): 2.5 mg, 5 mg

Some forms of prednisolone may contain lactose.

When should I give Prednisolone

Prednisolone is usually given once each day. This is usually in the morning.

Give the medicine at about the same time(s) each day so that this becomes part of your child’s daily routine, which will help you to remember.

How much should I give?

Your doctor will work out the amount of Prednisolone (the dose) that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.

It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions about how much to give.

How should I give Prednisolone?

Tablets

  • Tablets should be swallowed with a glass of water, squash or juice. Your child should not chew the tablets.
  • You can crush the tablet and mix it with a small amount of soft food such as yogurt, honey, or mashed potato. Make sure your child swallows it straight away, without chewing.

Soluble tablets

  • Dissolve the tablet in a glass of water or squash. Your child should drink it all, straight away. You can give the mixture to your child using a spoon or oral syringe.

When should the medicine start working?

Prednisolone should start to help your child’s wheezing soon after taking it, but usually takes 4–6 hours to have its full effect.

What if my child is sick (vomits)?

  • If your child is sick less than 30 minutes after having a dose of Prednisolone, give them the same dose again.
  • If your child is sick more than 30 minutes after having a dose of Prednisolone, do not give them another dose. Wait until the next normal dose.

If your child is sick again, seek advice from your family doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or hospital. They will decide what to do based on your child’s condition and the specific medicine involved.

What if I forget to give it?

You can give your child the missed dose as soon as you remember on the same day. If you remember after they have gone to bed, do not give them the missed dose. Give the next dose in the morning as usual. Never give a double dose of prednisolone.

 

Never give a double dose of Prednisolone.

What if I give too much?

It can be dangerous to give too much prednisolone. If you think you may have given your child too much prednisolone, contact your doctor or local NHS services (111 in England and Scotland; 0845 4647 in Wales). Have the packet with you if you telephone for advice.

It can be dangerous to give too much Prednisolone.

If you think you may have given your child too much Prednisolone, contact your doctor or local NHS services (contact details at the end of leaflet) or take your child to hospital. Take the medicine container or packet with you, even if it is empty. This will be useful to the doctor. Have the packet with you if you telephone for advice.

Are there any possible side effects?

We use medicines to make our children better, but sometimes they have other effects that we don’t want (side-effects).

It is unlikely that your child will have side-effects if they only take prednisolone for a few days. They are more likely to get side-effects if they are on a high dose, have extra doses or take prednisolone for a long time. Your doctor will use the lowest possible dose for as little time as possible to avoid side-effects.

 

Side-effects that you must do something about

  • If your child has bad stomach pain or repeated vomiting (being sick), contact your doctor straight away. This may be due to an ulcer or inflammation of the pancreas.
  • If your child develops a rash or severe/unexplained bruising, contact your doctor straight away, as there may be a problem with your child’s blood.
  • If your child has eye pain or changes in their vision, contact your doctor straight away.

There may sometimes be other side effects that are not listed above. If you notice anything unusual and are concerned, contact your doctor. You can report any suspected side effects to a UK safety scheme at www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard

Can other medicines be given at the same time as Prednisolone?

  • You can give your child medicines that contain paracetamol or ibuprofen, unless your doctor has told you not to.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving any other medicines to your child. This includes herbal and complementary medicines.

Is there anything else I need to know about this medicine?

For children who have been taking Prednisolone in high doses or for longer than 2-3 weeks:

For children who have been taking prednisolone in high doses or for longer than 2-3 weeks: 

  • They must not stop taking the medicine suddenly because they may get withdrawal symptoms: they will feel unwell, dizzy and thirsty and may be sick (vomit). If this occurs, you should contact your doctor straight away.
  • If your doctor decides to stop prednisolone, they will reduce the dose gradually before stopping it completely. Make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions.
  • Your doctor or pharmacist should give your child a Steroid Card, which contains useful advice about what to do if your child becomes unwell. Your child should keep this card with them at all times.
  • Make sure that you always have enough medicine. Order a new prescription at least 2 weeks before you will run out. 

General advice about medicines

  • Try to give medicines at about the same times each day, to help you remember.
  • Only give this medicine to your child. Never give it to anyone else, even if their condition appears to be the same, as this could do harm.
  • Make sure that the medicines you have at home have not reached the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date on the packaging. Give old medicines to your pharmacist to dispose of.

If you think someone else may have taken the medicine by accident, contact your doctor straight away.

General advice about antibiotics

  • Try to give medicines at about the same times each day, to help you remember.
  • Only give this medicine to your child. Never give it to anyone else, even if their condition appears to be the same, as this could do harm.
  • If you think someone else may have taken the medicine by accident, contact your doctor straight away.
  • Make sure that the medicine you have at home has not reached the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date on the packaging. Give old medicines to your pharmacist to dispose of.

Where should I keep this medicine?

  • Keep the medicine in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight.
  • It does not need to be kept in the fridge.
  • Make sure that children cannot see or reach the medicine.
  • Keep the medicine in the container it came in.

Who to contact for more information?

Your child’s doctor, pharmacist or nurse will be able to give you more information about Prednisolone and about other medicines used to treat asthma and wheeze.

England: NHS 111

Tel 111

www.nhs.uk

Scotland: NHS 24

Northern Ireland: NI Direct

Wales: NHS Direct

Tel 111 (free) or 0845 46 47 (2p per minute)

111.wales.nhs.uk/

Asthma UK

0300 222 5800

www.asthma.org.uk/

Copyright disclaimer

Version [2]. © NPPG, RCPCH and WellChild, all rights reserved. Review by February 2018.

The primary source for the information in this leaflet is the British National Formulary for Children. For details on any other sources used for this leaflet, please contact us through our website, www.medicinesforchildren.org.uk.

We take great care to make sure that the information in this leaflet is correct and up-to-date. However, medicines can be used in different ways for different patients. It is important that you ask the advice of your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure about something. This leaflet is about the use of these medicines in the UK, and may not apply to other countries. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), the Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group (NPPG), WellChild and the contributors and editors cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of information, omissions of information, or any actions that may be taken as a consequence of reading this leaflet.