UMMC Hearing and Balance Center physicianYour doctor prescribed a corticosteroid (prednisone) to help your ear problem. It may not be wise for you to take this if you have tuberculosis, diabetes, severe high blood pressure, kidney disease, psychiatric illness or a duodenal ulcer.

Because steroids can affect many body systems, there are occasional side effects you should be aware of and precautions you should take:

  • Adhere to the dosage which your doctor has advised. Do not discontinue the corticosteroid medication without your doctor's advice.
  • Because stomach ulcers are an occasional complication of steroid therapy, you should take an ounce of antacid preparation like Maalox, Mylanta, etc. with each steroid dose. Also avoid aspirin, alcohol and nicotine, substances which aggravate ulcer symptoms. A high-protein, low-fat diet is recommended while on long-term corticosteroid therapy.
  • Steroids may influence your mood, resulting in irritability, nervousness, moodiness, insomnia or euphoria.
  • Steroids can influence your response to infection or injury. Should you develop an unrelated acute infection or have a severe injury, inform your family physician that you are taking a corticosteroid.
  • Swelling may develop due to fluid retention.
  • When taken for a short period, as prescribed, side effects are uncommon. Prolonged treatment at high dosages is more likely to result in side effects. Side effects include some puffiness of the face, fullness in the back, neck and shoulders, a weight gain, increased poor fragility, cataracts, acne, aseptic necrosis of femur, and increased facial hair.
  • Prednisone may produce menstrual irregularities. Should you be using natural birth control, or be taking a birth control pill, you should be aware of this.
  • If you have diabetes, stomach ulcer, very high blood pressure or tuberculosis, please inform your family physician before you start medication. Steroids will cause instability in your sugar levels.