Continuing with the acute bronchitis case, this patient would usually be given a short term steroid “burst” of high dose prednisone. Those high daily dose is usually tapered off over the course of a few days to avoid adrenal exhaustion and withdrawal effects. You see, when you introduce prednisone (which the body recognizes as cortisol) to the body, the adrenals stop making their own supply. The theory behind tapering off of steroids like prednisone is that by slowly removing the external steroid source, the body can adapt and begin making its own again with less stress placed on the system. The practice of tapering in short term therapy, even in higher doses is debated by many clinicians. Some doctors and clinicians claim that not only is a taper not necessary in short term therapy (14 days or less) but it is better to stop this therapy earlier, the adrenals and body adjust just fine. Using a taper just introduces more of the artificial source for a longer period of time, which is best to be avoided to minimize side effects and more quickly restore natural body hormone levels.