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Diabetes

Prednisone and type 1 diabetes

04/07/2008

Question:

How long does prednisone stay in your system after 12 days of use, 40mg 3days, 30mg 3days, 20mg 3days and 10mg 3days.

Answer:

Prednisone is a synthetic steroid in the same class as cortisone which is produced by the adrenal gland. One of cortisone's actions is to prevent the fall in blood sugar or to raise it back up when it is low; prednisone has a more pronounced action along the same lines which can result in raising the blood sugar. The magnitude and duration of prednisone's effect will vary from one person to another; generally it will last a few days beyond the completion of the prednisone course. However, the amount by which diabetes medications need to be adjusted can vary widely. The key is to do more frequent blood sugar testing and be ready to ramp medication doses up rapidly as the steroid effect develops and then ramp it back down rapidly as the effect wears off. How that is individualized depends in part on how susceptible the individual ordinarily is to low blood sugar, how much experience there has been with courses of steroid treatment in that individual in the past; and whether the individual is thin (relatively insulin responsive) or more overweight (relatively insulin resistant).

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Response by:

Robert M Cohen, MD Robert M Cohen, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati