According to German researchers at Charite University Medicine Berlin, the modified-release form of the steroid prednisone is better than the standard (immediate-release) version at reducing morning joint stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Prednisone is used alone or with other medications to treat the symptoms of low corticosteroid levels (lack of certain substances that are usually produced by the body and are needed for normal body functioning).
Prednisone is also used to treat other conditions in patients with normal corticosteroid levels. These conditions include certain types of arthritis; severe allergic reactions; multiple sclerosis (a disease in which the nerves do not function properly); lupus (a disease in which the body attacks many of its own organs); and certain conditions that affect the lungs, skin, eyes, kidneys blood, thyroid, stomach, and intestines.
Prednisone is also sometimes used to treat the symptoms of certain types of cancer. Prednisone is in a class of medications called corticosteroids. It works to treat patients with low levels of corticosteroids by replacing steroids that are normally produced naturally by the body. It works to treat other conditions by reducing swelling and redness and by changing the way the immune system works.
German researchers at Charite University Medicine Berlin studied 288 people with active rheumatoid arthritis. Half took standard prednisone (a glucocorticoid) when they woke in the morning and half took modified-release prednisone at bedtime.
The modified-release tablets dispense prednisone four hours after ingestion.
After 12 weeks of treatment, patients taking the modified-release version experienced an average of 44 minutes less morning stiffness per day than at the start of the study. That was 29.2 minutes less than those who took the standard version, the team noted.
Both versions of prednisone (modified-release, immediate-release) has the same safety profiles.