Q: First off, I know the difference between corticosteroids and anabolic steroids. But, two of the powerlifters in my gym were given prednisone and they did personal best records in the weeks after starting it. I think they were given it for some other unrelated ailment. Will prednisone help me lift heavier or give AAS cycle a boost?

A: Corticosteroids are a completely different class of steroid, and not to do with anabolism. In fact, prednisone and other corticosteroids are catabolic. They break down muscle tissue in order to increase blood glucose. They also have wicked side effects after the positive effects wear off (between 1 to 2 weeks). Bone and muscle loss, hypertension, and detrimental effects on connective tissue. Ironically, it’s usually prescribed to repair something – to restore something. And initially, people feel like they’re 15 again in the joints and things work. But, after overstimulation, elevated heart rate, and hyperactivity, along with water retention and high blood sugar, the patina of this being a wonder drug wears off. The most concerning is that prednisone is damaging to connective tissue over time. The only thing I can figure about the personal bests that those powerlifters achieved is that they rid their body very temporarily of inflammation, and their joints were better able to lift without feeling creaky and arduous. As I said, in the first week, it makes the body feel like a million bucks. After that, it’s a sharp decline into hell. I wouldn’t take prednisone if you don’t need it desperately – under doctor’s orders.

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