Power control mitigates interference and maintains required QoS levels in cellular wireless networks. An important class of distributed power control (DPC) was proposed by Foschini and Miljanic in 1993, with many variants developed since. Almost all related work focuses on the equilibrium and asymptotic convergence properties. However, for many applications transient behavior is more important. If a link's SIR drops below a critical threshold for too long, the connections over this link will be dropped, rendering the entire concept of equilibrium resource allocation meaningless. This paper proposes a systematic approach to the analysis of transient properties of DPC algorithms, in particular Foschini-Miljanic, based on tools from control theory. Analytically, we present a sufficient condition to ensure that after links reach their minimum SIR levels, their SIR requirements can be guaranteed for future time steps. Computationally, we pose this problem as verifying the invariance of certain regions in the SIR space, which for the basic DPC algorithm can be cast as a Linear Program (LP). Furthermore, using insights gained from the analysis, we propose a preliminary design framework for new iterative power control schemes.