Prednisone missed dose symptoms


What happens if I miss a dose of corticosteroids? An expert answers.
Anyone who has suffered from inflammatory or autoimmune conditions like Crohn’s disease, lupus or gout must be familiar with oral steroids or corticosteroids. Unlike other medication, steroids follow a strict protocol. There is no rule for starting a course of steroids, but there one for bringing it to a stop.
Patients who have been on steroids for a longer duration hate what the drugs do to their bodies. Long term usage of the drug causes some undesirable side effects like swelling of the face, unnatural distribution of body fat, thinning of skin, constant hunger and weak bones. Some patients also experience mood swings and depression during long-term use of corticosteroids. These side effects naturally put them off steroid medication altogether, and doctors often find their patients asking them to stop prescribing these drugs to them. Many even go as far as to skip doses.
Despite all the bad press they receive, steroids are life savers and skipping doses can have some serious health consequences. Dr Pradip Shah, HOD and General Medicine specialist at Fortis Hospital, Mumbai tells us what happens if we miss a dose and why it is not wise to do so.
How do corticosteroids work?
Steroids like cortisone, prednisolone and hydrocortisone treating serious inflammatory conditions where the immune system is on an overdrive. Steroids mimic the hormones produced by the adrenal glands. In the right amounts, they help in suppressing the immune system, thus stopping its destructive spree in its tracks.
What happens when you miss a dose of steroids?
“Steroids are usually prescribed for a short duration of a few days or a longer period of a month or more,” says Dr Shah. “If the course is for a shorter duration, skipping a dose will not impact the body too much; however, if the duration of the treatment is longer, then skipping doses will have some serious impact on the body,” he adds.
While the body is getting its supply of hormone-like mechanism from the steroids, your adrenal glands will stop producing it. Steroid withdrawal can cause your body to go into a shock because it takes time to adjust to the change. That’s why doctors always taper the dosage instead of stopping it.
“If you miss a dose, take it immediately when you remember,” he adds. Missing a couple of doses can not only send your body into an adrenal shock, but the inflammatory problem for which you are seeking treatment will also return, says Dr Shah.
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