Effects of acute prednisolone intake during intense submaximal exercise

Int J Sports Med. 2006 Sep;27(9):673-9. doi: 10.1055/s-2005-872826.


To study the effects of a therapeutical dose of corticosteroid alone or associated with beta-2 agonist on performance and substrate response during intense submaximal exercise, seven healthy moderately trained male volunteers participated in the double-blind randomized cross-over study. An intense endurance exercise test to exhaustion was performed after ingestion of placebo (Pla), 20 mg prednisolone (Pred), and 20 mg prednisolone plus 4 mg salbutamol (Pred-Sal). Blood samples were collected at rest, after 5, 10 min of exercise, at exhaustion, and after 5 (r5), 10 (r10), and 20 (r20) min of passive recovery for ACTH, growth hormone, insulin, blood glucose, and lactate measurements. There were no significant differences in exercise time to exhaustion between the three treatments (Pla: 21.5 +/- 2.9; Pred: 22.0 +/- 2.5; Pred-Sal: 24.2 +/- 2.8 min). ACTH was significantly lowered after Pred and Pred-Sal vs. Pla from the start of exercise to the end of the experiment (p < 0.05). Pred and Pred-Sal increased resting and recovery (r10 and r20) significantly but not exercise blood glucose values. There were no significant differences in growth hormone concentrations between the three treatments whereas insulin was significantly higher at rest, during exercise, and at r20 after Pred-Sal administration vs. Pred and Pla (p < 0.05). Pred and Pred-Sal showed no significant effect on blood lactate compared with Pla treatment. These preliminary results do not support the hypothesis that acute oral therapeutic corticosteroid intake alone or associated with beta-2 mimetic improves performance during intense submaximal exercise, but further studies are necessary with tests of longer duration.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Adult
  • Albuterol / pharmacology*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Interactions
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Glucocorticoids / pharmacology*
  • Growth Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Prednisolone / pharmacology*


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Blood Glucose
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Insulin
  • Lactic Acid
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Growth Hormone
  • Prednisolone
  • Albuterol