What Are the Symptoms of a Prednisone Allergy?

Meshell Powell

Prednisone is a type of prescription medication known as a corticosteroid and is used to treat a variety of medical conditions that cause inflammation and swelling. Some people may not be able to use this medication due to a prednisone allergy, a condition which can develop both the first time the medication is taken or after the patient has successfully taking the medication in the past. Some of the most common signs that a person may be experiencing an allergy to this medication include a skin rash, hives, or itching of the eyes or skin. In some cases, a reaction can be fatal without immediate medical attention, leading to swelling of the tongue or throat and an inability to breathe properly.

Itchy eyes are a common symptom of an allergic reaction to prednisone.
Itchy eyes are a common symptom of an allergic reaction to prednisone.

Most people who have an allergy to prednisone will only experience mild skin reactions when using this medication. A mild rash may appear in some areas or may cover the entire body. This rash often itches, but not always. Raised red areas of skin, commonly known as hives, may also develop.

Difficulty breathing is a common symptom of an allergic reaction to prednisone.
Difficulty breathing is a common symptom of an allergic reaction to prednisone.

Swelling of the face, lips, or tongue are common symptoms of an allergy. The swelling may also affect the throat, causing wheezing and difficulty breathing. This type of reaction should be treated as a medical emergency, as the patient could lose consciousness or suffer permanent brain damage if the body is not able to receive enough oxygen to properly nourish the brain cells.

Itchy rashes and hives are a common symptom of an allergic reaction to prednisone.
Itchy rashes and hives are a common symptom of an allergic reaction to prednisone.

Anaphylaxis is a medical term used to describe a severe, potentially-fatal allergic reaction. In addition to rash, itching, and swelling, this type of prednisone allergy may lead to the development of a host of other symptoms. These may include abdominal pain, intestinal cramps, or diarrhea. Nausea, vomiting, or a feeling of being dizzy or lightheaded may also occur. A rapid pulse may develop, potentially leading to chest pain or heart palpitations.

Prednisone tablets can have many effects on the body, but are most commonly used for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Prednisone tablets can have many effects on the body, but are most commonly used for their anti-inflammatory properties.

A reaction to prednisone frequently leads to varying degrees of breathing difficulty. This often begins with mild wheezing, although if the throat significantly swells, the patient may become unable to breathe at all. Confusion or a loss of consciousness are possible if there is a dramatic loss of breathing capacity. This lack of oxygen can lead to permanent brain damage or even death if not treated immediately. Any questions or concerns about potential allergy symptoms should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Swelling of the airways due to prednisone allergy can cause the patient to lose consciousness.
Swelling of the airways due to prednisone allergy can cause the patient to lose consciousness.

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Discussion Comments


I had some itching before, but as soon as I went down to 5mg I began itching even worse. A few days later, and still a week later, most of my torso is covered with an awful rash. The itching is unbearable. Yet the Rhumy and MD insist that it is not caused by the Prednisone. I give up on getting any answers or help from these people.


I have a severe allergy to Prednisone. I suffer from asthma and chronic COPD. The doctors and hospital know not to give me this medication, as last time I ended up in critical care as my throat was closing up and breathing was like I was drowning. I had itching all over especially torso of the body and my head. I got two hours sleep (if that) all night and was very restless, anxious and felt very dizzy. My mental confusion was through the roof. I was climbing the walls and screaming at my friend who was trying to help me. I even took an allergy tablet for allergies and hay fever, but it did nothing to help.

In the ambulance, they gave me a shot of allergy stuff and extra nebulizers. My heart rate also tripled and I had pains in my chest and arm and legs as if I had been working out at the gym all day (if only). My arm collapsed when putting pressure on it bending my hand back. I had no control of the weakness I felt in my muscles.

I have suffered from migraines, but my head was blowing off and no pain relief released it. I had to tie a scarf around the front of my head tightly and put cold compresses around my wrists. I was shaking badly and felt like death. This was after a new doctor who should have checked my records before giving me anything.

It is a very serious offense as on my allergy list red flagged not to have this drug. He gave it to me as a suppository for inflammation in my pelvis. I am livid and going to take this further. I was going to the hospital, but knew I would be left sitting in a chair with no breathing nebulizers, which I have at home so I had a double dose at home. I was very lucky, but the doctor will not be, as leaving that practice as this sort of mistake can cost lives.

I am still dizzy, shaky and breathing still wheezy. I had another double dose on my breathing machine and calming it now hopefully. It has been 20 hours since taking it. It has a half life, I believe, from the research I've done, so it may be 72 hours before it is out my system at the dose given in one go. I can never take these! I was very lucky it was a lower dose and still some got in the bloodstream. That's how bad my allergy is. It's poison stuff, and can be lethal.


I was given injections in my knees. My blood pressure spiked and my face looks like I have a severe sunburn. I have also not felt well. I have had some nausea.


All of this makes sense now but I'm still not sure. I was prescribed prednisone for bronchitis and asthma for 12 days. And suddenly on the tenth day, I have a rash all over my body and it itches like crazy.


I had an allergic reaction to prednisone as well. I ended up in the hospital with severe swelling to my cheeks, nose, forehead and eyes. There were red welts that burned like a sunburn.


I have been on steroids for a severe allergic reaction, but I'm getting tightness in my chest and my rash is getting worse. Is that a side effect of the steroids or the original allergic reaction?


I too believe I'm allergic to prednisone. I was given it to help with asthma due to a cold and within two days, I had a rash and hives all over. I went to the emergency room, where they said that they treat hives with prednisone and increased the dosage. I also was told to take Benadryl at the same time. I am still breaking out in hives as soon as the Benadryl wears off.

This is nuts. I am going to attempt to cut out prednisone. I will take one less pill each day and hope for the best. The back of my throat swelled a bit and the mucus is so thick. I hope this works. I can't take much more.


I am so glad that I found this site. I took prednisone for just five days and I have a terrible rash. I knew that it was some sort of side effect but didn't realize how serious it could be. Thank you for sharing.


Even though I've had steroid shots in the past, last year I took oral prednisone and had a reaction. Now, I have another doctor who wants to give me a steroid shot for my shoulder, but will not until he finds out if I have an allergy or not.

My allergist wants to test me, but the only lab he knew of that tested for prednisone allergy doesn't do it anymore. He's checking his contacts but I'm checking on my own. Does anyone out there know of a lab that still does tests for a prednisone allergy?


My brother has a prednisone allergy, so he had to find an alternative treatment for his inflammation. The doctor he goes to believes in using natural herbs and spices as alternatives, so he recommended turmeric.

This spice can act as an anti-inflammatory. It makes your body produce more corticosteroids, so it can have an effect similar to that of prednisone.

My brother took turmeric pills so that he could get the correct dosage. Just sprinkling it on food wouldn't have been enough.


I find it strange that anyone is allergic to prednisone, because it is often prescribed to treat severe allergies. You wouldn't think that the treatment could also be the problem!

My vet prescribes prednisone for dog allergies. Once, my Doberman got stung by a bee, and her face and throat swelled so much that she was having trouble breathing. The doctor gave her a shot of prednisone and a dose pack to take home.

I'm really glad that she didn't have an allergy to prednisone, because with her throat already swelled like that, it would have killed her. At the time, I didn't know there was even a chance that she could have a prednisone allergy, and I'm glad that I was unaware of this fact.


@cloudel – Yes, the side effects of prednisone aren't very pleasant. My dad actually had a prednisone allergy, and he became pretty sick while on it.

He started having intestinal cramps that were pretty severe. He had diarrhea that went on and on, and he felt queasy on top of it all.

So, he cannot take prednisone anymore. His doctor has written on his file that he is allergic to it, and he reminds the doctor every time that he visits that he can't take it.

I guess that the allergy doesn't run in the family, though, because I can take it without having these issues. Even so, I don't like taking it, because it makes my abdomen swell so much that I look pregnant, and the swelling doesn't fully go away for months!


I experienced some of the side effects of prednisone that were mentioned on the label, but I don't think I had an actual allergy to it. I had some nausea and sleeplessness, as well as increased energy, but I didn't break out in a rash or have any trouble breathing.

Even though I didn't have any severe reactions to it, I did find the side effects troubling. I would become nauseated if I went for more than two hours without a snack, and this mean I had to get up at night and eat a cracker or something.

I only got an hour or two of sleep while I was on it. Somehow, though, I had enough energy to redecorate the house and clean it from top to bottom. I felt invincible, until I crashed five days later.

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