Steroids And Night Sweats


Night sweats, or excessive sweating during sleep, can be a puzzling and uncomfortable experience. Imagine you’re sleeping peacefully when suddenly, you wake up drenched in sweat, as if you had just run a marathon in your dreams. This can happen due to various reasons, and one of them is medication side effects. Among the many medications that can cause night sweats, systemic corticosteroids, like prednisone, are a notable example[1].

Mechanism of Night Sweats in Steroid Use

Let’s think of our body like a finely tuned machine, constantly working to maintain a comfortable internal temperature, much like a home thermostat. Steroids, however, can throw a wrench in this well-oiled machine. They can affect the body’s temperature regulation, leading to a condition known as hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating[2].

Imagine the neurotransmitter acetylcholine as the body’s “sweat messenger”. When steroids block the action of an enzyme that normally keeps this messenger in check, acetylcholine starts sending out more “sweat signals”, causing the body to produce more sweat than necessary. This overactive sweat production can even persist during sleep, leading to those unpleasant night sweats[2].

Risk Factors for Steroid-Induced Night Sweats

So, who’s at risk of waking up in a night sweat from taking steroids? The answer is that it can happen to anyone, regardless of age or race. However, certain factors might tip the scales towards increased sweating. For instance, if your family members tend to sweat a lot, you might be more likely to experience this side effect as well. Similarly, certain medical conditions, like obesity or diabetes, could also increase the risk[2].

Differential Diagnosis

Of course, steroids aren’t the only potential culprits behind night sweats. Other medications, such as those used for depression or hormone therapy, can also cause excessive sweating during sleep. Moreover, various medical conditions, ranging from anxiety disorders and autoimmune disorders to certain types of cancer and sleep disorders, can also lead to night sweats[3].

Frequently Asked Questions

Do steroids cause excessive sweating?

Yes, steroids can cause excessive sweating, including night sweats, as a side effect.

Does prednisone cause sweats at night?

Prednisone, a type of steroid, can indeed cause night sweats in some individuals.

How do you stop night sweats from prednisone?

To stop night sweats from prednisone, discuss adjusting your dosage or alternative medications with your doctor, maintain a cool sleep environment, wear moisture-wicking clothing, and avoid triggers like caffeine and spicy foods.

When should I be worried about night sweats?

Be worried about night sweats if they are accompanied by fever, chills, unexplained weight loss, difficulty breathing, or if they persist despite addressing potential triggers, as these could indicate an underlying health issue.


Experiencing night sweats can be distressing, but remember that they are a common side effect of various medications, including steroids. If you’re dealing with night sweats, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider. They can help determine whether your night sweats are due to your steroid medication or if there’s another underlying cause that needs attention. Moreover, they can guide you towards the appropriate treatment options to manage this condition and improve your quality of life.

Medical Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered professional medical advice. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before making any changes to your treatment plan, diet, or lifestyle. is not responsible for any actions taken as a result of the information provided in this article.


  1. Zimon, R. (n.d.). “Can prednisone cause night sweats. I am taking 20 mg for bronchitis?” HealthTap.
  2. Oakley, A. (n.d.). “Drug-induced hyperhidrosis.” DermNet NZ.
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff. (n.d.). “Prednisone (Oral Route) Side Effects.” Mayo Clinic.