K K Jain MD (

Dr. Jain is a consultant in neurology and has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Originally released February 23, 1999; last updated January 25, 2020; expires January 25, 2023

Historical note and terminology

Adrenocortical steroids were introduced in medicine more than 50 years ago. Prednisone, a glucocorticoid, is one of the most widely used drugs. It is used as an anti-inflammatory agent in disorders of several systems including the CNS. Although oral prednisone is often prescribed for multiple sclerosis patients, a related compound, methylprednisolone, which can be given parenterally, is used for managing acute exacerbations of multiple sclerosis. Another related compound, dexamethasone, is used for the treatment of acute spinal cord injury and control of cerebral edema due to trauma and neoplastic disease. The description in this article focuses on oral prednisone.

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