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Which is better; coated or non-enteric coated prednisolone?

Q) I have taken prednisolone EC (enteric coated) 5 mg for 40 years, for rheumatoid arthritis. My doctor has informed me that, from my next prescription, I will be prescribed prednisolone 5 mg as current research has shown that the enteric coating prevents absorption into the bloodstream, so is less effective. Also, there is no evidence that the non-enteric coated tablets have a detrimental effect on the stomach. Perhaps you could advise me whether this is the case so that I can discuss it with my doctor.
Gwen, London (Winter 2012)

A) I use the enteric coated form of the drug as I think it reduces stomach problems. If people do not respond to the drug as I would expect then I sometimes change them to the plain (non-coated) form. People who have very fast transit times (that is the food passes quickly through their digestive tract) sometimes report seeing the coated tablets coming out the other end and, for these people, non-coated tablets would be recommended. If you are doing all right on the coated version there is no reason to change, other than cost.

This answer was provided by Dr Philip Helliwell for the Winter 2012 edition of our magazine, Arthritis Today, and was correct at the time of publication.

Send your questions for Dr Tom Margham to enquiries@arthritisresearchuk.org


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