Some of the side effects from prednisone can be very upsetting, especially physical ones such as facial "mooning" (the face taking on a moon-like swollen shape), acne, and increased hair growth (hirsutism). The increased appetite, mood swings, and difficulty sleeping caused by prednisone can also negatively affect quality of life.
The good news is that these side effects do go away when the dosage of prednisone is tapered down and discontinued. How long it will take depends on the length of time that prednisone was used and the dosage.
The body itself produces a substance that is equivalent to about 5 mg of prednisone. A short course of 10 mg of prednisone a day may not cause side effects. However, either a dosage of 10 to 20 mg a day for a month or more -- or a dosage of more than 20 mg a day for any length of time -- could cause troublesome side effects.
As the prednisone dosage is tapered down below 10 mg a day and eventually discontinued, the temporary side effects will lessen and reverse. It should be noted, however, that some potential adverse effects of prednisone are permanent, and discontinuing the drug will not reverse them. This includes glaucoma, cataracts, osteoporosis (bone weakness), and osteonecrosis (bone death).
UW Medicine. Corticosteroids for Arthritis. University of Washington–Seattle Dec 30 2004. 24 Mar 2013.
MedlinePlus. Prednisone. U.S. National Library of Medicine Aug 01 2007. 23 Oct 2008.