Iris, medical physics, poole hospital

Rheumatology department
Patient Information
Children’s Arthritis Treatment Information
Steroids (Prednisolone)
Steroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs we use to treat childhood arthritis. How steroids work Steroids (glucocorticoids) occur naturally in the body and are important for a number of daily functions. Steroids are used as a treatment for arthritis to: This should enable you to become more active.
How should I take the steroids?
The prednisolone tablets come in three strengths: 1mg (white tablet), 2.5mg (brown
tablet) and 5mg (red tablet). The dose of steroid that you are given will depend upon
how much inflammation there is in your joints. Once the inflammation is under control,
the dose will be reduced as much as possible. It is best to take Prednisolone with a
meal, snack, or glass of milk. This helps to prevent stomach upsets.
What should I do if I vomit after taking the medication?
If you do vomit within 45 minutes of taking the medication, repeat the dose. If you vomit
more than 45 minutes since taking the medication, do not repeat the dose.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a tablet take your next dose at the normal time. Never give a double dose for
a missed dose.

Are there any side effects?
All steroids carry a risk of side effects. These will depend on the dose of the steroid and
the length of time that the child is on the medication. The aim is to reduce the steroids to
the lowest dose needed or stop them as soon as possible. Other disease-modifying
medications are used to replace steroids where appropriate.
Weight Gain: This can be due to an increase in appetite. Steroids can cause the body
to retain more fluid than usual and also increase the amount of fat it normally lays down.
On discontinuation of steroids it is possible to lose this weight.
Reduced Growth Rate: This can be caused by long term treatment with steroids.

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Rheumatology department
Patient Information

Menstrual Irregularities: There can be changes in frequency, flow and duration of
menstrual periods that can sometimes be overcome by taking steroids on alternate days.
If steroids are taken over many years at high doses there is a risk that they may cause
diabetes and osteoporosis (thin bones).

Important Information
If your child is injured (e.g. has a bad fall) and is treated as an Emergency, make sure
that the Emergency doctor knows that he /she is taking Prednisolone.
Immunisations - before any immunisations or vaccinations are given your doctor must
be informed.
Chickenpox - if there is direct contact with chickenpox and you are unsure whether your
child has had it then you must contact your doctor. A special medication to try and
prevent chickenpox may need to be given (zoster immune globulin).
Contact Details
If you have any further questions or need advice about your treatment phone the
Rheumatology Advice line on
01202 442849.

For further health-related information, please contact:
The Health Information & Resource Centre
Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Longfleet Road
BH15 2JB
Telephone: (01202) 448003
Rheumatology Practitioners
December 2007. Date of Review December 2009
Rheumatology Department, Poole Hospital NHS Trust
Dr. P. Thompson, Dr. S. Richards
We can supply this information in larger print, on audiotape, or have it translated
for you. A member of staff will be happy to discuss this with you. Please call
PALS on 01202 448499 or the Health Information Centre on 01202 448003 for
further advice

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust


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