Corticosteroids are commonly used to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. Prednisone, like other corticosteroids, is effective in quickly reducing inflammation, which can help to reduce pain, redness, and swelling. It also weakens the immune system, which is normally responsible for protecting the body against viruses, bacteria, and other infectious agents. Prednisolone works by blocking the effects of certain chemicals that cause inflammation in the body.
While it does not cure polymyalgia rheumatica, it may help to ease symptoms. Steroids reduce inflammation and inhibit the activity of the immune system. Inflammation is a process by which white blood cells and chemicals in the body protect against infections and foreign organisms such as bacteria and viruses. For most people, steroid inhalers and injections should not cause any significant side effects.
However, if you have an infection or an open wound on your body, you may not be able to take steroids as they can slow down your recovery or mask some of your symptoms. If you need to take steroids for more than three weeks, your family doctor or pharmacist should provide you with a steroid card. Although small amounts of steroids can pass into breast milk, there is no evidence that they are harmful to babies, so guidelines indicate that people can breastfeed while taking steroid tablets. High doses of inhaled steroids may sometimes cause some of the more serious side effects that are usually associated with steroid tablets (see below).
However, this is rare. Steroid creams and eye drops usually do not cause serious side effects, but if taken for a long time or at a high dose, the medication may be absorbed into the bloodstream and increase the risk of side effects that usually only occur with steroid tablets. Generally speaking, there is no reason why a person cannot use a steroid inhaler or spray; however, they should be used with caution in people with ongoing infections such as tuberculosis (TB).