Container: Serum (Gold top)

Sample type: Serum

Test name: Prednisolone

Condition / Indication: Prednisolone is a steroid drug used for the treatment of a number of conditions including asthma. It does not meet the normal criteria for therapeutic drug monitoring as there is no clear relationship between plasma levels and therapeutic effect. However its measurement is increasingly regarded of value as a check of compliance, and possibly to investigate patients who metabolize the drug at an abnormal rate. Patients with severe asthma are a group in which measurement may be particularly useful.

Special precautions & notes: Please provide details of current dose, and time since last dose

Reference range: Interpretation of the cortisol level in the sample is only valid if the patient has been on long term prednisolone (>6mths). Detection of prednisolone in a random sample indicates the patient took their dose that day.

Container: Serum (Gold top)

Ideal volume (mL): 5 mL

Referred outside NBT for analysis? Yes

Discipline: Clinical Biochemistry

Turnaround time: 21 days

Referral location: Department of Biochemistry, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, Bordesley Green Road, Bordesley Green East, Birmingham, B9 5SS.


Prednisolone, prednisone, cortisone and cortisol are measured using Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) following diethyl ether extraction of steroids from plasma. Deuterated prednisolone (D6) and cortisol (D4) are used as the internal standards.