Prednisolone ear drops (Predsol)

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Prednisolone ear drops are prescribed to treat inflammation in the ear canal.

Use two to three drops every two or three hours to begin with, then reduce the frequency as your ear improves.

If your symptoms have not improved after seven days, make another appointment to see your doctor.
Type of medicineAnti-inflammatory ear drops
Used forInflammation in the outer parts of the ear (otitis externa)
Also calledPrednisolone sodium phosphate; Predsol®
Available asEar drops

Otitis externa is a term used for inflammation in the ear when it is confined to the ear canal and does not go further than the eardrum. If you get things like water, shampoo or soap in your ear, then it can cause itching. If you then scratch or poke your ear, this can damage the skin in the ear canal and cause inflammation. Prednisolone ear drops are used to relieve this type of inflammation, along with any associated itching and pain.

To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you start using prednisolone ear drops, it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have a hole in your eardrum (a perforated eardrum).
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  1. Wash your hands first. Clean your ear gently with warm water and then pat it dry.
  2. Remove the cap from the bottle.
  3. Lie down, or tilt your head to the side, so that the affected ear is facing upwards.
  4. Gently pull your earlobe downwards to straighten the ear canal.
  5. Hold the bottle upside down near to your ear and apply enough pressure to release two or three drops into your ear.
  6. Keep your ear facing upwards for a few minutes to allow the solution to come into contact with the affected area.
  7. Repeat the process in your other ear if you have been asked to use the drops in both ears.
  8. Replace the cap on the bottle.
  • Before you use the drops, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from the pack. It will give you more information about prednisolone and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you could experience.
  • Use the ear drops exactly as your doctor tells you to. Unless you have been told otherwise, put two to three drops into the affected ear every two or three hours to begin with, and then reduce the number of times you use the drops as your ear improves. You may need to use the drops for about seven to ten days.
  • If you feel there is no improvement in your symptoms after you have used the drops for a week, stop using them and make another appointment to see your doctor.
  • Otitis externa can be painful. You can take simple painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to help relieve the pain.
  • To help stop further bouts of inflammation, try not to let soap or shampoo get into your ear canal when you wash. You can do this when you have a shower by gently placing a piece of cotton wool coated in soft white paraffin (eg, Vaseline®) into your ear. Do not poke it in.
  • Otitis externa is more common in people who swim regularly compared to non-swimmers. If it is not possible for you to avoid swimming, try to protect your ears as much as possible.

You may get a slight feeling of irritation or burning. This is usually mild and soon passes. If you get a rash or if you notice any other symptoms which you think may be due to the drops, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
  • In order to prevent the risk of infection, throw away any solution left in the bottle after you have finished your course of treatment. Do not keep it to use another time.

If you suspect that someone has swallowed some of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are using.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to use with your other medicines.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • British National Formulary; 71st Edition (March-September 2016) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Adrian Bonsall
Document ID:
28595 (v2)
Last Checked:
07/09/2016
Next Review:
07/09/2019
The Information Standard - certified member

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