Prednisone is a corticosteroid. In contrast to anabolic steroids (used by “bodybuilders”), corticosteroids are used in inflammatory conditions for their anti–inflammatory effects. They have a rapid onset of action, and profoundly affect many parts of the immune system as well as most other body systems. Corticosteroids are a cornerstone of treating most types of vasculitis, and are often used in combination with other immunosuppressive medications.
One of the numerous potential side–effects of prednisone and other forms of corticosteroid treatment is hirsutism — excessive growth of body hair. Patients vary in the degree to which this side–effect of steroids occurs. Although some experience minimal hirsutism, the patient depicted here developed this side effect after taking 10 milligrams of prednisone for a few months.