Are there Alternatives to Prednisone for Asthma?

Do you think one Prednisone fits all? You are far from the truth. Today, we will help you find some of the Prednisone viable alternatives. We will discuss Prednisone alternatives for asthma later in this article.

Prednisone is a generic form of the Asthma drug traded under various names in the open market. It is a treatment for a wide range of diseases and health conditions. It works by suppressing the immune system of the body.

Prednisone is not devoid f side effects. Some have serious side effects in the short term, including fluid retention, moon face (round face), increased infection risk, high blood pressure, and cortisol deficiency, among others.

If taken for the long term, Prednisone has severe side effects, causing glaucoma, diabetes, cataract, skin thinning, Cushing syndrome, prone to bruising, and osteoporosis.

There are many side effects, but doctors prescribe Prednisone as an effective treatment for many illnesses.

Alternative medicines to Prednisone

First on the top 6 list touted as the treatment of Asthma is Dexamethasone.


It is a viable alternative medication to Prednisone to treat acute asthma. Asthma patients find this medication much easier to tolerate and do not need to take long. Prednisone has a 5-day course, and Dexamethasone has a 1-5 day course.

Dexamethasone is about six times more potent than Prednisone and offers a single dosage that remains active for a long time. It requires less of doses than Prednisone.

A study conducted in 2001 depicts that a 2-day course of Dexamethasone is as powerful as a 5-day course of Prednisone. Dexamethasone also shows better compliance with patience with fewer side effects, much lesser compared to Prednisone’s number of side effects.

Research from 2107 demonstrated that two doses of Dexamethasone could be just as effective as five doses of Prednisone for children with asthma flare-ups requiring emergency care. A 2019 meta-analysis inferred that Dexamethasone patients had much less vomiting than Prednisone for asthma exacerbations.

Dexamethasone is available in the market in multiple dosage forms compared to Prednisone. Prednisone is available as oral tablets by mouth. Dexamethasone is available in solution form, tablet, and IV (injected intravenously, subcutaneously, and intramuscular).


It is another effective alternative medication to Prednisone for asthma. The symptom reliever medication opens up the airways, relaxes the patient, and within 2 minutes works to relieve the chest congestion and tightness because of the dry asthma cough. Some cannot tolerate Albuterol or are allergic to the medication. We have more alternatives below.

Group of Controller Medications

Patients with asthma symptoms over two times a week or a couple of nights a month should take a controller medication. The doctor’s recommended type is steroid inhalers, also called inhaled corticosteroids or glucocorticoids.

The particular group of medications on this list includes −

  • Flovent

  • Pulmicort

  • QVAR

  • Asmanex

And many more generic forms and branded forms are available in drugstores near you. These medications mentioned above are alternatives to Prednisone but offer much lower doses than Prednisone, and all are oral doses taken by mouth. Also, these alternative medicines have fewer side effects compared to many Prednisone side effects.

Accolate Pills for Asthma

Another alternative to Prednisone for asthma, which works differently from Albuterol or steroids, is the Accolate pills for asthma.

  • Accolate (zafirlukast)

  • Singulair (montelukast)

These are oral, taken by mouth each day during the course. They are an effective treatment for inflammatory lungs. Doctors can recommend these medications if patients need more treatment over steroid inhalers. The drugs show much lower side effects compared to the side effects of Prednisone.

These medications are not as strong as Prednisone but work favorably and effectively for some asthma patients. These are good medications to try out to control asthma symptoms.

Prednisone is an effective anti-inflammatory asthma medication, but anti-inflammatory treatments work for you. Patients can also tolerate Prednisone for a while, then become addicted. Asthma patients can also get addicted to oral steroids.

Inhaled steroids and antihistamines or antileukotreines medication combinations can be helpful to reduce the oral steroid need.

A doctor would recommend Prednisone oral steroids as a maintenance medication only when for severe asthma. There are still excellent asthma treatments in the variety of inhaled steroids which have become the foundation of new asthma therapy.


Although Prednisone is an effective anti-inflammatory medicine, it offers a series of side effects, including osteoporosis, a disease leading to the weakening of bones. Diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure) are two side effects of Prednisone.

Using steroids for a longer time also puts you at a high risk of having cataracts, glaucoma, frequent infection, fluid retention, gaining weight, skin issues, and mood disorders.

Keep working with an asthma specialist to try a combination of asthma medications and treatments that suits your requirement with east side effects.

Updated on: 24-Apr-2023


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