a bottle of PredniSONE 1mg

Q. I am in very good health except for recurrent sinus infections. Recently, my internist put me on a 12-day tapered course of prednisone.

Within days I thought I was going crazy. I became extremely agitated and irritable and the least little thing set me off. I didn’t sleep for three days, even with sleeping pills. I couldn’t concentrate. My blood pressure soared and I became very fearful.

My doctor never warned me about any of this. Are these normal side effects of prednisone and what will I do if I have to take this drug again?

A. Prednisone and other corticosteroids (Medrol and Deltasone Dosepaks) relieve symptoms from a variety of conditions. Arthritis, asthma and severe skin reactions to poison ivy or sunburn are just some of the disorders these drugs treat.

Many people experience severe psychological reactions to high doses of such drugs. Steroid psychosis can cause anxiety, agitation, euphoria, insomnia, mood swings, personality changes and even serious depression. Some may experience memory problems or hallucinations.

Let your doctor know you are susceptible to this kind of reaction. If you ever have to take more than 40 mg of prednisone at a time, you may need medication to counteract the psychiatric side effects.

If sinusitis is caused by an infection, an antibiotic may be appropriate. Researchers are discovering that an old-fashioned, inexpensive drug such as amoxicillin may be a good choice. Here is an article for more details. If you really want to learn more about sinusitis, our one-hour radio interview with Harold C. Pillsbury, MD, FACS and Ronald Gerbe, MD, may be of great interest.

Read more information & testimonials on Prednisone side effects.

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  1. One Sick MaMa

    I was prescribed prednisone 40 mg for three days. I have now been off of it for four days. Since then I have been really sick. Left arm pain, indigestion, diarrhea, upset stomach, dizziness, muscle spams, and extreme tiredness.

    Went to urgent care and they told me that I shouldn’t have such withdrawal after such short tetm use. Went to ER and got my heart checked because of left arm pain and after many hours found out my heart was fine. I dont know what to do or how to get a Dr to help me but i cant keep going on like this.

    I have never felt this bad and helpless in my entire life. I will never take prednisone again unless its a life or death situation but what can I do right now to be me again?

  2. Joni
    North Carolina (NC)

    I have been on and off prednisone for years for exacerbations of emphysema. This time, for sudden hearing loss in right ear.

    By far, the worst tapers, for me, seem to start at 60 mg. I know I do things I normally wouldn’t do….I hit my live in boyfriend, of 3 1/2 years, whom I love so much. More than once, on prednione, I have struck the most wonderful man in the world. I’ve tried to get him to read up on the side effects of the drug, particularly some of these blogs, because not all sources offer all the ugly side effects of this drug.

    It’s so difficult to say, ” I am acting like this because of the medicine that is supposed to be HELPING me: I am shaking, pupils are wild, roaring in my ear, rattling in chest, wheezing, shortness of breath, NO SLEEP in days, itching on face, neck, chest, arms, irritability, moodiness, no appetite, just revved up, anxious, not comfortable driving, erratic, crying, emotional, difficulty concentrating, can’t think straight.”

    He said my eyes “looked like a vampire and it scared him “. OMG, I feel horrible. If this crazy behavior had happened only once, he might understand, but I’ve had to be on the steroids so many times. No matter how hard I try to stay in control, I fail.

    I have reported it to my doctors who say, “continue the medication. This is what steroids do”. Now my boyfriend doesn’t know if he can deal with not knowing whether I’ll just go off without warning. He’s trying, but I can’t make him understand how much I hate what prednisone does to my body and brain. It feels like, and appears to look like, you’re just a crazy person. Suggestions on how to get the important people in your life to …I guess understand?

  3. Mussarat

    Would like feedback on anyone who was prescribed predisolen for temporal arteritis. I have only recently been diagnosed my gp asked me start on 60mg but I’ve seen my mum with bad side effects while taking for rheumatoid arthritis so I have started with 30mg they haven’t helped my head much. I have insomnia excessive sweating and pain in my arms and legs so for and that’s only 3 days in
    I’m dreading the weight gain and moon face.

    • Experienced
      North Carolina

      My thoughts are totally with you. I am now on a 60 mg. 12 day burst dose pack for acute inflammation in feet, legs, arms, and I get maybe 2 hours sleep a night. My brain is sooo tired yet I have all kinds of energy, just don’t get in my way!! When my loving doctor (she knows I try to do all natural now) told me I really need this, I also knew I was in such pain that I HAD to start this stuff again. I actually forgot how awful it is.

      I asked my husband Saturday if he wanted to leave for a week or 2,or did he want me to? I have never been in the rages you have written about (that is serious!) You could end up in prison over medication!!! At the end of the dose pack then I was exhausted and still cranky for another week, I think for lack of sleep. Try adding some humor to your frustration and I go overboard trying to be nice to my hubby while inside I am raging! ADMISSION of impulsive BEHAVIOR while recovering and asking FORGIVENESS is always a PLUS because hubby knows I don’t really want to be like this either (it is ugly!).

      I am in my mid 60’s of life and have had asthma since I was 2 years old. The prednisone plus other things like antibiotics too often in my life have weakened my bones. I have early onset arthritis which is inflammation in the body also and can be very painful. Ulcerative colitis, pneumonia, Poly Myalgia Rheumatica, Bronchitis, Asthma…are to name a few illness when had to take prednisone.

      My dear readers: You have a right to have the right medicine in your body and ask your Doctor that if you have to take such a medication to avoid the high dosage. Request that you start at maybe 40 mg. for longer than 4 days to begin. They just need to LISTEN TO YOU and WE are the only ones who know our own body. I think sometimes Doctors who do not listen would learn much if they had to take these drugs themselves. EACH Of Us DO NOT REACT THE SAME TO ALL MEDS!!! Here’s praying you can find such a caring M.D.

  4. Beaner

    My Boyfriend has been on 60mg a day of Prednisone for the last 8 weeks. He will do the next 8 weeks at 50mg a day and then the following 8 weeks after that go down to 40 mg and onward and so forth until he is done. He was prescribed them for a lung disease to shrink the nodes at the entrance way to his lungs. He will not have a follow up for another almost two months. Up until two weekends ago, he seemed okay. Not fabulous with his moods but okay. A little bit snippy and impatient but we were expecting some moodiness and were not overly concerned.

    Then we both decided to quit smoking (neither of us need to continue smoking when he’s been diagnosed with a lung disease) and that is when the real anger started. This is day 11 of being a non-smoker for me and he lasted two days and is back to smoking again. But the quitting smoking seemed to be the trigger and he lost his mind on me for no real reason and then the next day while he was apologizing he got mad again and the apology turned into another rage. Last night was a good night and I don’t know why but happy to have a little break from it. He doesn’t see a problem with his behavior and when I talk to him about his symptoms he brushes it off (or gets rude and snappy).

    Also, he went back to work two weeks ago as well. He was off work for 4 months and now his DR. has okayed him to return to work. He is now getting a whole lot more exercise than what he was getting at when he was at home. I was hopeful that exercise might decrease his agitation but while he seems to stay somewhat reasonable at work he is definitely crabby when he get’s home (except last night for whatever reason).

    Once you begin the tapering process how long do the mood swings last? Do you think this is something I will have to deal with until he is completely off of Prednisone or is is possible some improvement can happen with the commencement of the tapering process? I know he cannot help himself and I would want him to stick by my side if it was me on these meds so I’m going to try my absolute best to get through this but if anyone has words of advice I would so appreciate it. Any of you readers that have been on it, have you found things that seem to calm your anger down? Things your loved ones can do that help to keep things manageable? A non-addicting mood stabilizer that seemed to help? Natural remedies (herbs, spices, etc. that I could into cooking or juices or water)? My last resort will be to maybe call his specialist and see if they can sneak him in earlier for his follow up. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that but I don’t want him to say or do something that he will massively regret down the road. That will break his heart:(

    Thanks in advance for the advice!

  5. Trish

    This is my 5th day on prednisone 20 mg. I am freezing and very cold to the touch. The left side of my face feels like ice and pins and needles. My gums feel strange, and I have a numbness in my tongue. I have had dry mouth the whole time as well. All of this for a never-ending sinus infections. It is not worth it.

    • Anna

      Trish, I have the same problem with my husband. we have been married for over 43 years and I am at breaking point with his angry moods. He had a AAA operation over two years ago. Unfortunately, it resulted in his left leg being amputated and problems with his lungs and kidneys. He had had a tough time and a lot to contend with. He now suffers with repeated lung infections for which he is prescribed prednisone. We seem to be between the devil and the deep blue sea because he goes from infection and infection and needs longer and longer courses of the drug. I have come to the conclusion he is addicted. He is completely, unaware of his angry outbursts and denies that the drug is causing him a problem. From my experience, I would encourage you to make that call to his specialist. He needs to have his prescription reviewed before the side-effects are affecting his life.

  6. Julane
    North Carolina

    I have been on prednisone off and on for four years for asthma issues, however I have terrible side effects from them — the longest span on them has been 3 months of 20 mg… I currently a week into 60mg weaning down to 40 this week . This round of prednisone has been so much worse for side effects !!! Do you think that each round of dosing that you take increasing the intensity of the side effects ? I do not remember it being this bad last year — depression /anxiety / mood swings / mania/ insomnia / hyperglycemia /sweating / horrible stomach aches with diarrhea / dizziness/ hand tremors ….

    • Jan

      I am down to 3.50 mg a day, side effects were, breathlessness, rapid heart rate, sweating, extremely cold, sleepless, nasty to best friend, for no reason, shakes inside body, teeth /jaw ache, blurred eyesight. Blue purple bruising on hands. Now I get joint ache, feeling strange in myself is how I describe it, but not as bad as in the past. Still feel chills, sometimes hot, wish I could come off it but not yet! Jan

  7. Lynne Henry
    New Jersey

    I had to take Prednisone years ago for acute asthma and went totally out of my mind!!! I was SO HYPER. My heart felt like it was racing out of my chest. The whole core of body felt like was going to explode. I was shaking all over and felt like my head would also explode. I felt like I was out of my mind (couldn’t think clearly, execute things properly, could not go to work,etc.). I wanted to scream endlessly and didn’t know what to do with myself. I truly thought I might die (and if this were the only alternative, then that sounded not so bad).

    I felt so “crazy”, so out of control. I have often explained it as “felt like I could rip the heads off of little animals!” Never did, but this is how EXTREMELY Prednisone affects me!!

    • Degsy

      Hi, what dose were you on?

      I just finished 6 months on 10mg. Had all the problems you have mentioned. In deep trouble at work now too!

    • Mary
      United States

      I completely get this, too! I envisioned twisting my beloved kitties’ necks for a day or so..definitely not like me…Just had to take a 150 mg dose in prep for a medical procedure..I can predict what the next few days will be like. I am just thankful knowing that this won’t last forever.

  8. Amber

    Hello, I took prednisone for a severe asthma attack in a hospital and now I see my life completely different. I was really depressed and now I see life completley different. Like theree is sooo much I can accomplish as much as I focus. Like in a smart sense. I feel better in a smart sense. Everything makes sense and now I can pinpoint things, things as in concepts and speak to people properly. Before I was always concerned with how people think of me, but now I could care less because people are people They are like you and me. I am really excited because I am also more interested in my work and artwork and feel a drive to complete things. The level of photography I make has intensely increased in like 2 days. I’m afraid I will scare my friends off. Just don’t care about things except the 1 mind track of whats going on at the time. I mean I care about what they say, but I feel very present unlike before. Still a lil scared of things. Just glad I’m not as worried as I have been.

    • Dylan
      Hollywood, FL

      It’s been a while so I don’t know how you’ve changed in that time, but I would be careful if I were you. I’m not a doctor but it sounds like you’re going through something called hypomania (I understand it based on wikipedia only) and while hypomania isn’t necessarily a bad thing it can end up turning into depression and it’s also common to have bouts of irritability. Just try to stay “present” as you say. Maybe take up meditation. I’m starting prednisone now and I’m worried about going through a sort of bipolar reaction. Good luck to you.

    • Mary

      Wowser-I felt like this during my February burst..I love the ‘I don’t care” and c’est la vie feeling, but I was afraid to scare my friends off, too. So I stayed home with my needles and spinning wheel. The bonus was that all of my body aches disappeared. It was heavenly, though I knew the feeling wouldn’t last, I was determined to enjoy my burst of energy and focus for those weeks. And I did..my March burst did not feel positive at all. Grumpy, irritable, judgmental. I couldn’t stand my own company. I’m hoping that my 1X 150 mg dose I just took is kind to me..short and sweet.

  9. Michael
    San Francisco, CA

    My partner too has been diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis, he was put on a very high dose of prednisone 3 pills twice per day and he is euphoric, grandiose, expanding his house, demolishing things, resistant to helping me help him, says he does not have the time to see his doctor because of the renovations, shows no concern of love for me, will not call back or read texts, sleeps odd times, I can never talk to him face to face without him doing other things and there is no reasoning with him. He says am snooping on him but if I dont check on him something bad could happen as we dont live together but have been together 12 yrs and domestic partners in CA. He needs this medication or he will lose his liver but he will not agree to see his doc with me nor add a sedative to his daily regime in order too balance out the side effects. Jane Pauly went through this and felt like she was on top of the world until she figured it out because the worst thing about this Prednisone is that no one realizes they are changed people. I have called a Hills Case worker to open the communications between the doctors and hopefully him.

  10. Shauna

    I have been on predisolone for about 3 months now for a serious flare up of psoriasis it cleared them up within a few days but my god am I struggling to come off them I got myself off them 4 weeks ago but a week in I felt like I was going to die.

    I usually go to the gym most days, I got to the gym one morning and had a full on panic attack. I just couldn’t bring myself to go …..I then found myself in bed for at least 15 hours a day and then still feeling exhausted ….I couldn’t think straight I was moody to the point I was gagging for more pills to make me feel better I felt like a complete and total smack head ….I went back to my doctors and he done a few tests on me and said I was having withdrawals my blood pressure was dangerously low so he gave me more steroids ??? TBH I was over the moon I couldn’t take them quick enough but I’m back to being of them 2 days in and I’m petrified I will become I’ll again I just hope this time I’ve tapered for long enough and my body has started producing on its own.

  11. Joan
    Trenton, New Jersey

    I was recently diagnose with a rare form auto-immune kidney disease. Was prescribed 80mg. prednisone the end of January. Over the last few months. I am now down to 25mg. I have always been an upbeat, positive healthy person. I am 56 yrs old and no diabetes, up to now (prednisone induced), no cholesterol or blood pressure problems. Since taking the prednisone I am a mental and physical mess. Can’t think straight or even keep a positive thought. Feeling like I am just here taking up space with no feelings. I’m finding it impossible to feel love of myself or others, and that is not like me at all. I AM SO SCARED I WILL NEVER FEEL THE SAME OR BE LIKE I WAS. Can someone please help as I am scared I will die.

  12. jj

    My wife has been on prednisone for many years because of kidney a transplant. She experiences insomnia, agitation, and ungodly, unbelieveable mood swings. Her mood swings are to the point where she will say things like I wish you were dead, move out, I will call the police and have you arrested. I have been taking care of her for over 20 years, and I am at the point where I just wish I would die because she has totally worn me out physically, mentally, and emotionally. I feel sorry for anyone that has to deal with their loved ones that are on this medication. I know they can’t help it, but doctors must know something that could help! I am at he point where I want to move out, but I know I would feel so guilty knowing she would have to fend for herself. At what point does someone with a huge heart that enough is a enough!!!

  13. Suzanne M
    warren, MI

    I was given Prednisone (dose pack) for a sinus infection. I am so agitated and shaky. I feel a wreck like I am having a nervous breakdown. I can’t sleep and I feel like I am speeding, yet exhausted. I hate these pills but the antibiotics did not work. now I feel like I have to quit the prednisone and I’m afraid that I will get sick all over again. I do have some anti-anxiety medication which helps a little with the anxiety but I can’t take the nervousness I feel. I also feel like I see things that aren’t there.

    • sandy

      That makes two of us. I moved home to care for my parents. Mom passed 2 years ago and dad has pemphigus vulgaris and has been on 10mg of predisone for 18 months. Recently the Dr put him on cellcept and for the last week he has been so nasty he told me to get out and that he is feeling better now so he is standing up for himself. He almost died a year ago and I am the only one who will care for him. I am so spiritually broken by him . I feel worse about how he makes me feel than other things. HELP

      • Valerie
        fort myers

        Hi Sandy,
        Maybe you should find a source of support in the community for care gives, a small group of folks you can meet and talk with, what you and your father are going thru is what many others face , its challenging to say the least.

        Sometimes with our parents they do not want to lose their independence and what they relay to us is not directly associated with their true feelings. I do believe a support system for you would be helpful. I will pray for you. Valerie

  14. Eve
    New York

    I was prescribed cortisone for poison ivy. I had a severe reaction to it. I had a full on panic attack with hyperventilation, shaking, heart racing, and crazy thoughts. I almost went to emergency room cause I thought I was having a heart attack. I did not realize it was caused by the cortisone until now. I’ve been worried that another would happen for a year since it happened. Thank you for posting this!

  15. Nancy C

    I emailed my doctor and she had me increase my prednisone from 10 mg to 25, and the headaches are gone!

  16. Nancy C

    I’d been on 60 mg of Prednisone and am now down to 10 mg. Sadly, my headaches, jaw pain, on and on, have returned. I have temporal arteritis. Maybe when I next see my rheumatologist, she’ll up my dose. The Prednisone has caused hair loss, thin bleeding skin, leg cramps, insomnia – but I didn’t go blind. So you puts your money down and you takes your choice.

    • Shirley
      United States

      I have temporal arteritis and am on 80 mg of prednisone. I’m miserable the side effects sweats so heavy that I need to change my clothes 2 to 3 times a day I rarely urinate I guess because of the sweats. I don’t sleep and my eyes are always grainy,dry and blurry. Will any of the side effects go away I’m on month 4 and the doctor says it can take up to 3 years to get rid of this disease.

    • Mussarat

      Hi Nancy would love to talk to u about your condition
      I have recently been diagnosed with gca without the blindness mostly the headaches. My gp started me on 60mg but I didn’t take it until after the biopsy which I am still waiting for results. When I did start taking them I reduced to 30. At the most so far I have insomnia excessive sweating and pain and weaknesses in my arms and legs. I’m dreading the weight gain. Would love to hear your experience with this. Mabs xx

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