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Cortisone Effects



I`m a lifelong sufferer of asthma. I`m no 43 years old and have developed a severe upper respitatory viral infection. At first, my physician put me on prednisone. But after 3 days on it, my heart rate shot up. So he`s taken me off prednisone and gave me a cortisone shot.

Two questions: 1) What`s the difference between prednisone and cortisone? For some reason, I thought they were the same. 2) I`m trying to picture in my mind what the cortisone is doing inside my body. I tend to think of it keeping my airways open so I don`t develop pneumonia or have an asthma attack. Anything you can add to this or correct would be most appreciated.



Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways of unknown cause. The inflammation makes the smooth muscle surrounding the airways more susceptible to contraction. Prednisone and cortisone belong to a group of medications (often referred to as corticosteroids, glucocorticoids or `steroids`) that can reduce the extent of inflammation and lessen the susceptibility and magnitude of airway narrowing. Thus, glucocorticoids can indeed help `keep your airways open`. Although the various glucocorticoids used for asthma therapy have similar anti-inflammatory actions, their relative potencies and routes of administration can differ. 

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Response by:

Dennis   McGraw, MD Dennis McGraw, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati