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Thursday, April 09, 2009 Andrew's mom, Community Member, asks

Q: prednisone and ADHD

can prednisone help teenagers with ADHD and other disorders such as ODD my son has ADEM and was taking prednisone both IV/oral they really seemed to help with the ADHD and ODD as well as the ADEM i am unsure as to whether or not it can be continued?

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Answers (4)
Eileen Bailey, Health Guide
4/13/09 11:43am

Thank you for your question and welcome to


Prednisone is a steroid used to help with inflamatory illnesses, such as arthiritis. I have not heard about it being used to help with symptoms of ADHD or ODD.


Prednisone can also cause concerns with the immune system, making it easier for people to contract viruses, etc.


Why was your son prescribed prednisone?



Mom with Daughter, Community Member
5/22/09 8:27pm

My 21 yr old daughter also has adhd, severe eczema, anxiety and chronic sinuses. She has been prescribed prednisone to help with a severe bout of eczema and then a few months later for a case of mono because of some severe swelling in the throat and nose related to that and she stated the she feels so much better with all of her problems(eczema, problems sleeping, anxiety and attention problems) I was paticularly amazed at the progress that she made trying to learn to drive( she has visual spacial/ visual motor deficits)She has been working on it off and on since age 16 and has learned by leaps and bounds in the last 2 weeks. She is more focused 0n the task and gets less frustrated and actually seems to understand what I have been trying to explain to her about parking and l turns at green light and R on red. all these things we have struggled with for the past 5  years. Now she is finished with her dose and I have seen a mild regression in her learning ablilities but she is stresed again when trying to learn and is not sleeping as well. I am a nurse and have asked pediatricians that I work with about this and nobody seems to know anything .  It makes some sense since many kids with adhd have eczema and other allergies that somehow allergies and adhd might have some common immunologic cause. Just thought I would chime in to agree with you (there may be something here to investigate)


iloveeverything, Community Member
12/28/10 5:12am

I too have noticed a great decrease in ADHD symptoms while on prednisone for asthma/allergies. It's very interesting.

infoang, Community Member
4/13/11 6:41pm

oddly.... my son also had an extreme decrease in ADHD symptoms for the brief period he was put on Prednisone for a lung infection.  The minute he was done with the prescription he regressed. It struck me as strange... so I looked it up to see what might have caused the difference. He is not currently medicated for his ADHD. We took him off Concerta because he developed facial tics and it was not really helping him significantly. Incidentally his facial tics disappeared when he was on the prednisone as well. He was actually quite focused a whole different kid! I would never even begin to suggest treating ADHD with Prednisone as the side effects are severe and prolonged use of the drug would cause major issues. I do however, wonder what it is about the prednisone that causes the chemical change. I am not a doctor or pharmacist but I have had to take prednisone and it felt like some sort of stimulant when I did... making me very nervous and " wired" I wonder if that same effect works to help those with ADHD be more focused? ( Since ADHD medication is simply a stimulant)


It would be wonderful if I could find something that worked this well to treat my son. perhaps there is a study done someplace that can pinpoint the part of the brain that is stimulated by Prednisone?? Perhaps there is some comparable medication without the horrible side effects? I would love to see any information there is about this....


Doug Bateman, Community Member
8/18/11 1:20pm

I am a 58 year old man. I have had comprehension issues since i started school 53 years ago. Got to the point that i was having difficulty at work recently.  Neurologist diagnosed ADD. Whatever....i was put on Vyvance (Adderall substitute). It is nothing more than an amphetamine. Which is the worst thing you can take if you are trying to focus and organize your thoughts. After a couple months of this nonsense and trouble sleeping i quit.

I was prescribed prednisone recently for a sinus infections. I noticed an immediate improvement in my ability to concentrate, remember and recall details needed for projects i was working on. Once again i feel let down by the medical comunity as it relates to cognitive disorders. Although i have noticed an improvement on as little as 3mg/day i am concerned about long term use. I am currently taking the 3mg but will run out soon. Then it will be business as usual and frustrating times trying to do what normal people have no problem doing. It is a sad state of affairs...     Doug

Gypsy, Community Member
1/22/12 5:29am
I just wanted to add that I too had a wonderfully clear mind on prednisone. I have Adult ADD and am in a very dificult graduate program. I take adderal 20mg daily and I'm not sure if it really helps but when I was put on a tapering dose of prednisone by the GI doctor everything was clear it was amazing. I was able to pay attention to the lectures, think thru their reasoning and make conclusions. It was only for the first 3 or 4 days. As the strength went so did my ability to concentrate. I have told a few health perfessionals about this and no one knows why. I have had similer experience the nights before a test when my adrenalin is high. The adrenalin is not as mind clearing as the prednisone but it perked my curiosity. So I am convinced there have to be better chemical combinations we could try to break thru the ADHD/ADD cloud. I hope some chemical wizzes get on this soon. I'm 43 and fighting myself daily to keep attention and concentration. Thank you for starting this post. Reply
iloveeverything, Community Member
3/ 3/12 10:10pm

my assumption is that the ADD is more a result of allergy or other immune disorders (at least in some cases)  and that's why prednisone alleviates symptoms of ADD.  it's not really that prednisone is working on the brain per se, but it's just stopping the immune system from reacting so strongly that it affects the brain's function. if you think about it,  a lot of allergy affects the head  which also encases the brain.  inflamed sinus' may be putting pressure against the... frontal lobe?. this may be why sudafed seems to help ADD symptoms as well as the currently prescribed stimulants (i.e. amphetamines) and caffeine too.  all are vasoconstrictors.   one of my first indications of an allergy reaction is a general discomfort which makes me fidgety.  also,  everyone has different reactions to allergies, and maybe parts of the brain get attacked by the immune system in response to allergic stimuli  just as other regions of the body can be immunologically attacked.   at the very least,  i do believe that untreated allergies/asthma/immune disorders can increase ADD symptoms in certain individuals.   just a thought.

Anne, Community Member
3/11/13 3:55pm

Wow. I have the same experience! Got Prednisolon for asthma at age 40, and my life completely changed. Not only can I concentrate, I have a new calm and joy of life. I used to have anxiety issues, but no more.


It has been 5 years now, and the effect prevails at 5 mg per day. Downside is of course that this is not very healthy and I'm gaining weight.


Similar to you guys, the doctors seem surprised. And frankly, not very interested in why... But I am: could there be a less harmful medication that could give some of the same effect?

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By Andrew's mom, Community Member— Last Modified: 11/15/13, First Published: 04/09/09