How Long Does It Take For Prednisone To Work?

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 15, 2023
FACT CHECKED by Dr. Kristy Dayanan, BS, MD
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As a personal trainer, I frequently work with clients, including athletes and the elderly, who utilize Prednisone for various health issues.

During a recent discussion with my doctor regarding a previous knee injury, we delved into the effectiveness of Prednisone and the time it takes to alleviate symptoms of inflammation.

I've gathered insights from both my doctor and scientific research in this article to give you clear information.

Quick Summary

  • Prednisone typically works quickly, though the speed varies significantly based on the dosage and the specific condition being treated.
  • Prednisone tablets come in two forms: the immediate-release (IR) version and a delayed-release (DR) formulation designed to take effect four hours after ingestion.
  • Adverse effects are observed in up to 90 percent of patients who use corticosteroid medications for more than sixty days.
  • In my opinion, adding high-quality pre-workout supplements into a healthy diet can help boost workout performance, accelerating progress toward fitness goals.

How Many Hours Does It Take Prednisone To Work?

Holding pills with clock in the background

Prednisone typically begins to work within one to two hours, provided the prescribed dose is in the form of an immediate-release tablet, according to WebMD [1].

Additionally, research from Drugs.com suggests that delayed-release tablets, used to deliver a high dose over an extended period, may take up to six hours for absorption into the bloodstream [2].

It's important to note that, similar to many other medications, realizing the full benefits of Prednisone in treating inflammation and other conditions may take a few days or weeks.

Most of my clients observed that the onset of prednisone's effects varies depending on the dosage and condition, with a duration of action lasting approximately 18 to 36 hours.

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“Prednisone, like other corticosteroids, quickly lowers inflammation, which cuts down on pain, redness, and swelling. It also dials down your immune system. “

- Melinda Ratini, DO, MS at WebMD.com.

What’s The Half-Life?

The elimination half-life of prednisone is 3 to 4 hours in adults and 1 to 2 hours in children, according to the National Institute of Health [3].

This implies that, even at lower doses, prednisone remains detectable in drug tests for several hours, with PubMed research indicating detection for at least 24 hours in urine tests [4].

And since both oral and injected forms of this drug are banned, according to USADA, it can become a problem for athletes in competitive events [5].

What Is the Common Use of Prednisone?

Research from MedlinePlus suggests Prednisone is commonly used to treat inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or certain allergies [6].

However, a study published by PubMed indicates that, despite its medical purpose, prednisone can enhance exercise performance even after the initial dose [7].

This has led to its prohibition in sports and its potential detection in random drug tests.

Side Effects of Taking Prednisone Regularly

A stressed person

Regular use of Prednisone comes with significant physical and mental side effects, including:

  • Confusion
  • Muscle twitching or tightening
  • Vision problems
  • Depression
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Sudden weight gain

Is It Important to Monitor Prednisone Intake?

It's important to closely monitor Prednisone intake under the guidance of a doctor.

I've worked with individuals who used this medication for short-term, legitimate injury treatment, but they all sought medical advice and only used it for a few weeks.

Personally, it's not a drug to be taken casually for potential performance benefits.

FAQs

What Is A Prednisone Used For?

Prednisone is used to treat inflammatory diseases and infections. It can trigger a reduced immune response but can have significant side effects and negative interactions with other drugs.

Is Prednisolone A Strong Steroid?

Yes, Prednisolone is a corticosteroid, primarily affecting the immune system, distinct from anabolic steroids that target testosterone and growth hormone for muscle growth.


References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/prednisone-arthritis
  2. https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/long-prednisone-work-3562260/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK534809/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31701669
  5. https://www.usada.org/spirit-of-sport/education/five-things-know-glucocorticoids/
  6. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601102.html
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17805102/
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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