Can You Drink Coffee While Taking Prednisone?

For most people, the morning is a time of day that is dependent on a routine. For instance, you might wake up, brush your teeth, take a shower, drink or chug a glass of water, and then get dressed. 

If it seems like something essential is missing from that morning routine, you are not alone. So many people worldwide could not imagine a successful morning routine without a cup of coffee. For some, it is the first sip that hits the spot; for others it is even just the smell. Some folks love it hot, and others prefer it on ice. Either way, coffee is the cornerstone of the day, as some 62% of Americans drink coffee daily, and 90% of older coffee drinkers have a cup in the morning with breakfast (via National Coffee Association). 

Since so many people drink it, you might wonder if coffee is actually good for you. The good news is that coffee has antioxidants that may actually help battle inflammation and protect you from certain diseases like coronary heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and stroke. But coffee does contain a drug called caffeine. Drugs can interact with other drugs, so you might wonder if it is ok to drink coffee while you are on a drug like prednisone. Here's everything you need to know.

What is prednisone?

Prednisone is a drug in the class called corticosteroids. It works by reducing the immune system's response to disease and can help manage symptoms such as swelling and redness (via MedlinePlus). You may take prednisone for conditions like allergies, autoimmune diseases (such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis), blood disorders, cancer, eye issues, and skin conditions. Like many drugs, prednisone has a list of potential side effects, some more serious than others.

Some typical side effects of prednisone can include acne, dizziness, eye bulging, fatigue, headache, heartburn, lower sex drive, mood shifts, tiredness, and weak muscles. Some more serious side effects — meaning you should call your doctor if you experience any of the following — include depression, eye pain, mental confusion, uncontrollable shaking in the hands, muscle twitching, irregular heartbeat, rash, hives, itching, numbness or tingling in the extremities, or vomiting.

Prednisone, when taken with caffeine, can also cause some other side effects.

You may want to avoid combining coffee and prednisone

If you are currently taking prednisone, then you might want to consider taking a break from coffee. Unfortunately, the caffeine that is in coffee can interact with prednisone and increase the risk for certain adverse effects, says Coffee Affection. For example, caffeine may increase the inflammation in the body that the prednisone works to counteract, thus impeding the drug's effectiveness. Caffeine may also keep you up at night — and note that insomnia is a common side effect of prednisone too. And if you consume caffeine on a regular basis while you are on prednisone, you also increase the risk of having adverse side effects like anxiety, headaches, and an irregular heartbeat.

If you have issues with sleep, anxiety, or headaches and you are already on prednisone, then it is a good idea to cut back on your coffee consumption, or even take a break. That said, if you absolutely can't forego your cup of joe, it's still considered safe to drink it while you're on prednisone — just be sure to monitor yourself closely for unwanted side effects.