Prednisone and Glucocorticosteroids Need Eye Injury Warnings: Report

  • Written by: Staff Writers

Public Citizen, a prominent consumer watchdog group, is calling for new warnings about the risk of eye problems to be added to some classes of steroids, saying that side effects of prednisone and other glucocorticosteroids could leave consumers with impaired vision. 

On July 26, Public Citizen sent a petition to the FDA calling for new eye injury warnings to be added to the labels for all brands of prednisone and other glucocorticosteroids, indicating that only 13% of the medications currently carry warnings about the risk of central serous chorioretinopathy, a rare disease that can damage the retina.

Glucocorticosteroids are synthetic steroids used to treat asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, some cancers and other inflammatory and autoimmune disease. They are also used to prevent the body from rejecting transplanted organs. There were 25.5 million oral prednisone and 13.7 million methylprednisolone prescriptions in the U.S. in 2010 alone.

Central Serous Chorioretinopathy is a buildup of fluid behind the retina which can cause it to detach.

Public Citizen’s petition points out to the FDA that labels from one glucocorticosteroid to another can vary widely, and recommends that they all be made more uniform and include warnings for central serous chorioretinopathy.

In addition to the risk of eye damage, Public Citizen found that warnings of some other side effects of glucocorticosteroids varied from label to label as well, including the increased risk of serious fungal and parasitic infections. The group called for a review of all glococorticosteroid labels.

“Since synthetic glucocorticosteroid medications share similar mechanisms of action and risk profiles, it is important that the labels for these drugs communicate consistent information to health care providers and consumers regarding drug use and safety,” Public Citizen’s petition states.

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  1. Glenn Reply

    I had a massive attack last month. I recently heard that prednisone was linked to heart attacks. I was on the medication for 12 years, and am currently still on it to be exact.

  2. James Reply

    I have bone damage and I think my eye problems are dou the prednisone also the eye doc cant find a reason for my eye damage ?

  3. Sherry Reply

    I am currently taking prednisone. I just recently was told I have cataracts in both my eyes. The doctor said it was not due to my age, but that prednisone causes cataracts. I have been taking the drug for 10 years and never had any problems with my eyesight. I have also had a problem with weight gain after taking this drug. I was always skinny prior and I was never told about any of these possible conditions while taking prednisone.

  4. Denise Reply

    Looking foe answer’s. My Daughter tooke Prednisone for 10 days last Summer. After her course- things seemed fine. But 2 weeks later she went blined in the inside of her left eye. We went to the eye Doctor and were told it was a side effect from the Steriod she had taken. The Doctor said she had nerve damage and will not regain sight in that area of her eye. He said it was pressure from the Prednisone in here eye that caused the partial blindness. I brought her to diffrent Doctors to rule out any diseases like RA, Lupus or MS. She came back fine. We also had a MRI of her Brain done and nothing was noted to cause the blindness. Know I dont know what to do. Everywhere I look nothing says this could happen. The Doctor’s say nothing. Any one have this happen?

  5. Robert Reply

    Was on two short course treatments of 10 day each for a couple of gout attacks I had. Well those two short courses led to a detached retina. I had no idea what the cause was until I met with my latest surgeon. Was informed before my retina surgery I would end up with a cataract. So just met with the surgeon who is replacing my lens. First thing out of his mouth. Were you on prednisone for anything? Guess this is a known problem. Would be nice to know as I could have had it watched more closely and maybe not be going through this for the past six months and all the time loss at work.

  6. Randy Reply

    I took prednisone for ONLY 5 days… And after that week my left eye is REALLY blury, everything looks darker in that eye,and when I blink I see a transparent grey circle. I went to optometrist and he said in have CSR (fluid leaking behind my retina) he claims after 3 or 4 months most patients get eye sight back….he gave me no medication and it Avery very annoying and feels disoriented with my left eye like this… Guess I will find out in due time if my eye heals

  7. Rebecca Reply

    My mother was given this when she was in early stages of non hodgkins lymphoma and lost all vision

  8. William Reply

    Yes my mother has been dead for 12 years now but she had been taking Prednisone and her eyes had cataract surgery and she had her hips broke I believe from Prednisone

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