Prednisone vs Prednisolone

PrednisoLONE is sold under the brands: Bubbli-Pred, Flo-Pred, Hydeltra, Millipred, Orapred, Prelone, Redipred, Veripred 20.

PredniSONE is sold under the brands: Deltasone, Meticorten, Orasone, Prednicen-M, Sterapred, Winpred.

Prednisolone (prednisone) is a corticosteroid used to reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms in a variety of disorders. It is a potent immunosuppressant and anti-inflammatory medication with rapid onset of action. It can be a life saver for many people.

Prednisolone is used to treat many inflammatory and allergic conditions, including arthritis - rheumatoid, psoriatic; systemic lupus; ulcerative colitis; bronchial asthma; symptomatic sarcoidosis; allergic rhinitis; dermatitis; severe psoriasis. Prednisolone is also used in patients whose adrenal glands are unable to produce sufficient amounts of corticosteroids.

What is the difference between Prednisone and Prednisolone?

While both prednisone and prednisolone are intermediate-acting glucocorticoids, have the same indications, are equally effective, and are considered to be equivalent, they should not be confused. Prednisone is an inactive precursor and must be converted by the liver into prednisolone. For this reason, prednisolone is a preferred prescription choice for people with liver diseases.

Although these two steroids are slightly different, the information about prednisolone also applies to prednisone.

Steroid equivalents

Prednisone 5 mg is equivalent to:

  • Prednisolone 5 mg
  • Methylprednisolone 4 mg
  • Cortisone 25 mg
  • Dexamethasone 0.75 mg
  • Hydrocortisone 20 mg

Why must Prednisone be tapered in dose?

If you take prednisone for a long time, your adrenal glands decrease cortisol production. And a sudden discontinuation leads to adrenal insufficiency. A gradual reduction in prednisone dosage (tapering) gives your adrenal glands time to resume their normal function. Recovery may take anywhere from a week to several months.

What happens if you don't taper off prednisone? If you abruptly stop taking steroid or taper off too quickly, you will develop symptoms of adrenal insufficiency, such as weakness, fatigue, fever, vomiting, and body aches.

Possible tapering regimen: decrease by 2.5–5 mg every 3–7 days until the physiologic dose (5 mg) is reached.

How long does Prednisone stay in the body?

Prednisone (prednisolone) has a short elimination half-life of ~3.5 hours. It usually takes 5 half-lives for a medication to be completely eliminated from the system. So, most of prednisone is cleared by the body in 17 hours.


Last updated: February, 2015

Good to know

  • Prednisolone influences the biochemical behaviour of most tissues of the body.
  • When prednisone is compared with the naturally occurring glucocorticoids, cortisone and cortisol (hydrocortisone), its anti-inflammatory effects are 5 times more potent whilst its mineralocorticoid properties are less pronounced.