Prednisolone withdrawal - skin rash

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I have been taking Prednisolone at varying doses for pretty much the last 12 months, i was initially waiting for surgery on nasal polyps and taking steroids for a prolonged period of time, after the surgery I was prescribed a heavy course again by the surgeon.

Since the surgery I have had problems with nasal polyps again and have now been back on them for about 5 months solid.  I recently stopped taking them, within 48 hours I was very ill, flu like symptoms sleeping for 14 hour periods.  when I woke up on day two I was covered from head to toe in a lumpy rash, this disipated within 24 hours.  Since then I have been back on steroids for a short sharp course lasting almost two weeks.   This course ended on Friday, I now have a skin rash mainky on my legs and arms, I do not feel ill and have no other real symptoms other than some aches and pains.

I wondered if anyone else has experience with skin rashes after using oral prednisolone.



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  • Posted

    Hi yes I have, some people are more sensitive than others so you may need to come off steroids slower than other people, reducing over a longer period of time 20,10,5g etc.. You should never just stop medication straight away, you should reduce slowly to allow your body to adapt. The ski rash could be a side affect of the sudden change. Hope this helps.
  • Posted

    Hi Cathy thanks for the reply, so just to confirm you have had experience with skin rashes when finishing a course of steroids?

    Just to clarify, this second time around I have tapered down I was on 30mg for 6 days then 25 for one day, 20 for one day, 15 for one day, etc etc.  But still two days later after my last tablet i have a skin rash again.

    • Posted

      Yes I had a rash during my reduction of steroids but it went a week after I had stopped. The rash got worse in the heat and when I had hot baths. So I was advised showers and a product like sanex that has no soaps to irrate it. It did work in the end. I still have to be careful as my skin is still sensitive as a result of being on and off Prednisalone since I was 14. I am now 28.
    • Posted

      Was the rash all over?

      Mostly on face and upper body. 

      Blotchy and stingy. 

    • Posted


      Not sure about theirs, but mine is anywhere I've scratched or has high friction. Currently inner thighs, chest, right leg, upper back. It was on my face the first time and I'm expecting it to come back. I've decided to stop taking my flovent(inhaled corticosteroid) because every time I forget to take it the rash flares up/re-appears. Not fun, especially since I felt way better before I started taking it...

    • Posted

      Hi Jason. 

      Sorry for late reply. 

      Hurricane town over here. I am in a Floridasad

      It's frustrating... prednisone withdrawal rash.  The Zyrtec seem to help but I had to stop due to racing heart. 

      But any pressure on the area or scratch immed for me turns red. 

      The face is def red and arms. Blotchy. 

      And itchy.  Stingy too.  The heat from sun aggrevates it.  U can touch the skin and it will feel hot. 

      Did you ever confirm w a doctor if this is from coming down from prednisone. 

      Are you completely off? And how long did the rash last ?

    • Posted

      So here's the story: I was on Flovent and Zyrtec for about 4 or 5 weeks, then went on a vacation for a weekend and forgot to bring my meds, first day missed (of both) was Friday. Not knowing about the consequences, a rash started on the third day (Monday) and got fairly uncomfortable. Thinking it was an allergic reaction to something I restarted Zyrtec and benedryl, and thinking it could be bacterial related I didn't take my steroids (yes I now know I'm an idiot). By Wednesday part of my face was swollen (but hydrocortisone I picked up that night made it go away), by Thursday I couldn't cover the rash on either thigh with both hands. Friday sucked, I kept trying home remedies from the internet and everything failed. Saturday I called the military nurse advice line, and they said I need to see a doc within 8 hours. Being a weekend and my base having no minor emergency and only an ER, I went to the ER for a rash. There they gave me a methylprednisolone dose pack and said it was probably from stopping the Zyrtec (which I've done many times before, it doesn't do this) or coming into contact with poison ivy... When I was downtown in a major city all weekend... The dose pack (and restarting flovent) cleared everything up, but left me still itchy everywhere. Now a few weeks later(still itchy at this point), I forgot to take my flovent over a weekend again (sheer laziness, I kept talking the Zyrtec), and the rash started to return. Realizing the issue was flovent, I wanted to document the relapse but... I had a 5k in the morning so I took one more dose. This pattern of being off till the first signs of rash then taking one dose, and staying on Zyrtec, was enough to avoid a major rash the second time. In fact, the itchiness has almost completely gone away! Now that I know how to safely stop taking flovent, I'm more comfortable starting it again but haven't yet.

      Sorry for such a long and indirect answer. The short version: it lasted till I took steroids again and the itching didn't stop till I weened myself off.

      Uncertainty: the timeline I experienced almost exactly matches that of poison ivy, maybe I somehow came into contact with it. More experimentation is required.

    • Posted

      Hello Amy and dJason, I too am in Florida and in the middle of an allergic reaction, but I am confused as I thought it was caused by the Prednisolone, am I now to understand Amy that you are saying the withdrawal causes the rash? Yesterday was my last day of the Prednislone pack, I also did a Prednisone pack before the Hurricane, (went through 36 hours with acute sciatica pain, no power, or ac) at first I thought it was a Heat Rash, was so focused on getting help for my Sciatica pain after the storm that I didn't deal with the rash except to put some aloe on it. The rash spread yesterday to my back and along the band of my underwear with red welts, the pain and itching was so bad we called the dr who recommended Benadryl which thankfully knocked me out! Back up this morning, same thing, itchy and red. So confused now, is it an allergic reaction or withdrawal, not sure how to deal...going to try and see a dermatologist next I guess...

    • Posted

      Hey Helene and Jason,

      My story. 

      I have been on and off prednisone for about a year. Due to joint pain

      Finally did a epidural series. Which helped. At the time I did it. Was off the prednisone. But epidurals are prednisone. 

      I would say It was almost 2 wks off the prednisone. I decided to go into a cryochamber to decr some of the back pain due to epidural. 

      24-48 hrs late. Boom. Facial rash, and skin all over on fire. Stingy tender to touch like I went to the keys but didn't. 

      It def was not a burn from the cryochamber. Per dermatologist. 

      He put me on prednisone calmed it all down about 90%. The on the last day of the pill it went full blown again. 

      So he put me on 3 wks worth. Ugg. 

      Again helped but not fully. 

      I am weaning off. As I wean off it seems to antagonize the rash.  It's feels like a all body heat and stingy. But obvious on my face and arms. Idk. 

      Seeing a allergist to run blood work. He feels it's something I am allergic too. No infection noted in prior blood work. 

      From my own personal research it said my symptoms could be a withdrawal. 

      But when I ask the docs they didn't think so. 

      So that's why I came here to see if anyone had had my situation. 

      I live in south Florida too. 

  • Posted

    Hi Cathy again many thanks - I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to be on and off for such a  long period of time i thought that i was bad I have been on  and off since about the age of 25 I am now 34... (i had to think about that for a moment then).

    This is the first time that i have experienced a skin rash.  It isnt itchy just red and blotchy, kind of like small red rings that join together.  it starts on the underside of my arms and then appears on my legs later on, it seems to be subsiding even now but i know that it will come back again.

    many thanks for all of your help and advice, I will also try the sanex.

  • Posted

    Hi mh91,

    I have been on Prednisolone for 20 years due to a lung inflammation at the time.

    just after I started, I developed a rash on my forehead, sometimes extending to either side of my nose. It is aggravated during hot weather, sweat, and hot showers, and I have been treating it with a 1% Sigmacort, a cortisone ointment.  It causes the rash to form pimples, which form scabs and drop off over 2-3 days.  I then get a week or so of almost normal skin on my forehead until the rash again returns. Two skin specialists that I have visited both suggest to continue, but use the ointment sparingly.

    Because of the hotter temperatures in Australia, plus the fact that I play golf 3 times weekly, I have also found that 30+ Banana Boat sun cream lengthens the periods between rashes with great effect.  I am on 5mg daily, except for increases when I have the occasional adrenal crisis when I get a cold etc.

    The above certainly works for me.

  • Posted

    Hi Neil,

    Thanks for your response, I have to say though unfortunatley we do not get weather over here that warrants sun cream that often.

    Out of interest is it common to feel generally unwell for a week or so when you finish your course of steroids?

    As well as the rash I just feel rough in general, sore throat muscle aches and just well like i have a cold or mild flu really?

  • Posted

    I took oral cortisone for a month. I took it two weeks coming off the med. I have a itchy very aggravating rash. I tried all kinds of things and it will not go away. It has been 2 weeks of this. Called Dr. And was told it had nothing to do with what he was treating. If you or anyone can help please let me know. At this point I would try most anything. Thank you. Barbara
    • Posted

      Hello Barbara, I am in the same position, I find washing with warm soapy water then air drying and putting calamine lotion has given me a lot of relief, I also got a perscription creme and took Benadryl last night which stopped the itching, still searching for cause, I thought it was an allergic reaction to the steroids but now am thinking it is withdrawal from them. Have you found any solutions?
    • Posted

      Hi Helene1111, to add onto the discussions....  

      I relocated from Australia to California and after a year developed a severe Poison Oak rash.  

      The family Doctor prescription a week of oral cortisone, after stopping for a day my entire body broke out in a red skin rash on top of the Poison Oak rash.  I visited the Emergency and was informed early withdrawal symptoms from steroid and was prescribed further two weeks dose.   Once again, couple of days after completion of last dose the rash reappeared.  I have been off steroids for a week however after consuming food my body temperature rises and with a vengeance the red rash appears.  

      In reading numerous forum posts on 'Prednisone - cortisone steroid', skin rash is a side effect of the steroid and could last up to two weeks.

      Bathing in Colloidal Oatmeal and Ice packs are my relief options.  Benadryl and Calamine lotion was my go to for the Poison Oak rash. 

      Hope that helps, happy to keep all informed.


    • Posted

      Did your rash ever go away? Im going on week 3 after being on prednisone for a couple weeks. Mine showed up about a week after stopping..hoping there is an end.
    • Posted

      Hello Vicki,

      so sorry that you are going thru this, there is an end but it did not happen on its own for me. I had to take action and be consistent, it took a focused regime to make it go away, here is what I did.

      I went to the doctor and got a prescription strength cream. 

      Each morning and night I would bathe with a soap with no chemicals and then let my skin air dry.

      I would put the prescription cream on, more on the worse patches, then let it air dry, sleep in cotton, ac on cold so I wouldn't sweat.

      I also used a cream from the health food store made with calendula during the day to supplement prescription cream which was $$, 

      I wore cotton during the day as well, tried to stay cool and not sweat or irritate skin. It took like 3 weeks to go away.

      FYI, since I realized I could never use Prednisone again I did a lot of research and have since turned to anti inflammatory herbs like turmeric and things like coconut oil or MCT Oil, a purer version, they are natural, more effective and no side effects, consider doing the same and researching nutritional alternatives.

      I hope this helps, hang in there and feel better, 


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