Medical Q&As

Prednisolone - side effects?

My wife has been prescribed prednisolone as part of fertility treatment and we would like to know more about this steroid before using it including any side effects. The dosage is 5 mg. per day for every day of her cycle to be used for three months. Your opinion would really be appreciated.

Since the information you have given is necessarily limited it is not possible for me to comment on the use of prednisolone as part of a fertility treatment. Presumably your wife has sperm antibodies in which case the prednisolone would help to reduce the level of production of those particular antibodies. The dose of 5 mgs that has been prescribed for your wife is small and since the side effects with prednisolone are largely dose related I would consider the risk of any adverse effects to be very low. Probably the commonest side effect we see is gastric upset, which can be manifest by nausea abdominal pain or vomiting. For that reason it is generally recommended that prednisolone should not be taken on an empty stomach and should be taken after food. Prednisolone is also available in enteric-coated form, which means that it is encased in a special coating that reduces the risk of gastric side effects. It is likely that you will receive a product information leaflet with the drug, which will contain a very long list of side effects associated with the use of steroids. Some of those effects are serious but it is extremely important that the issue of side effects be put in context. Manufacturers are obliged to list the various side effects that have occurred with a particular drug but no information is given regarding the frequency of such side effects. The major adverse effects reported in relation to steroid usage refer to high dosage that is taken on a daily basis over an extended period of time. Your wife does not fall into that category therefore I would consider that it would be quite safe for her to take the dose that has been recommended to her.