a bottle of PredniSONE 1mg, short-term steroid use, prednisone side effects

Prednisone can be a life saving drug. It saved my sanity when I developed sudden hearing loss in one ear. That was a really scary experience for someone who depends on hearing to be able to do live radio. Being deaf in one ear was incredibly disorienting.

The ear, nose and throat specialist diagnosed my deafness as “idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss.” In other words, he didn’t have a clue what caused it. He prescribed high doses of prednisone for a short time and within a few days my hearing returned.

Other Corticosteroids:

There are a number of other medications that act in a similar manner to prednisone. They may be used in skin creams (topical preparations) or taken as pills. These include:

  • Cortisone
  • Dexamethasone
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Methylprednisolone
  • Prednisolone

All of these medications have different potencies, so they are prescribed at different doses. Even though they work in a similar way, they are not interchangeable.

Some steroid medicines such as fluticasone are designed primarily for inhalation or as eye drops. We are not discussing uses and side effects of those medications in this article.

As useful as corticosteroids can be for a wide range of conditions, the drugs can also cause an extraordinary number of serious side effects. Some people have likened such prednisone side effects to a deal with the devil. Even short-term use can cause problems for some people.

What Prednisone Treats:

Allergic Reactions:

One of the reasons prednisone and other corticosteroid drugs are prescribed fairly frequently is that their powerful anti-inflammatory action can be useful in many situations. These include very serious allergic reactions, such as serious poison ivy.

Another type of allergic reaction, to latex, peanuts, wasp stings, medication or other triggers, can result in anaphylactic shock. The immediate treatment is epinephrine. Prednisone or other steroids may be used to stabilize body systems after epinephrine opens the airways.

Neurological Inflammation:

Steroids such as prednisone are often used to reduce inflammation in brain or nerve tissue. This might be caused by a brain tumor or a traumatic brain injury. Prednisone can prevent brain swelling and the serious consequences that could result. Corticosteroid drugs may also help calm the inflammation of optic neuritis and multiple sclerosis.

Prednisone or another corticosteroid can prevent blindness when it is used to calm acute inflammation of blood vessels in the head, called giant cell arteritis. It can also reduce the swelling of the brain that may occur with altitude sickness.

Asthma:

In an acute asthma flare-up that can’t be controlled with the usual inhaled steroid or bronchodilator, prednisone can improve breathing. It reduces airway inflammation and can be very helpful in an emergency, though it is not appropriate as a standard asthma treatment.

Autoimmune Diseases:

Autoimmune conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (also known as Crohn’s disease), lupus, polymyalgia rheumatica and rheumatoid arthritis can all cause severe pain and inflammation. Corticosteroids such as prednisone calm the hyperactive immune response as well as the inflammation. None of these steroid medications is a long-term solution, but they can get patients through difficult flare-ups.

Addison’s Disease:

In Addison’s disease, the adrenal cortex tissue that sits atop the kidney and produces the hormones cortisol and aldosterone fails. Frequently an autoimmune attack is the cause of the this condition, although infections can also trigger Addison’s disease. Secondary adrenal insufficiency can be one of the prednisone side effects that accompany long-term treatment for another condition. To treat this serious disorder, doctors prescribe hydrocortisone, cortisone or prednisone to replace the missing cortisol and fludrocortisone to replace the aldosterone.

Cancer Treatment:

Prednisone or other corticosteroids can be useful in treating a number of cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma or multiple myeloma. In addition to reducing inflammation due to the cancer itself, such medications may help lessen the likelihood of reactions to chemotherapy, including severe nausea caused by chemo.

Joe’s Personal Experience with Prednisone Side Effects:

Joe’s experience taking prednisone to reverse his acute hearing loss illustrates some of the prednisone side effects that other people may encounter. That week or two, he couldn’t sleep, became incredibly irritable and hard to live with, and felt as if he had turned into someone else he didn’t know or like.

His experience was not at all unique. A May, 2012, study in the American Journal of Psychiatry analyzed data from hundreds of thousands of European patients over an 18 year period.

They discovered that people taking corticosteroids were more likely to experience neuropsychiatric symptoms including depression, suicidal thoughts (and actions), delirium, disorientation, confusion, panic and manic episodes.

The authors conclude that:

“Glucocorticoids [another term for corticosteroids] increase the risk of suicidal behavior and neuropsychiatric disorders. Educating patients and their families about these adverse events and increasing primary care physicians’ awareness about their occurrence should facilitate early monitoring.”

Joe responds to this conclusion:

“I can relate. I certainly felt disoriented and out of control on the relatively high dose I was taking. The trouble is that patients and their families are not always warned about such side effects.”

We have heard from a surprising number of people that they were given very little information about prednisone side effects. That is especially true for the psychological roller coaster ride that sometimes occurs.

Ella had an experience somewhat similar to Joe’s:

“I’m really glad to have found this article. I’ve been on prednisone for 2 weeks now for sudden hearing loss in one ear. At my last doctor visit I was given another prescription for 2 more weeks to eventually taper off the drug. I am so ready to be off of this drug so, I thought that I would skip tapering off of it. But after reading about side effects others have had without the tapering, I will definitely taper off as prescribed.

“The side effects are awful: Difficulty focusing, brain fog, jittery shaky inside feeling. I am irritated by things I’m not normally irritated by. I am also waking up in the middle of the night.”

What Should You Know About Prednisone Side Effects?

There are some key questions you should ask whenever you are handed a prescription. You should know what the drug is and why you are taking it. Find out how to take it (how many times a day, with food or not, etc.) and how long to take it. Ask how to stop taking it, as that information is often left out of the discussion and it can be very important.

The most important information, however, is what side effects to expect. You have a right to know what side effects are most common. You might also want to ask about reactions that are rare but deserve immediate medical attention. This reader did not get any advance warning about prednisone side effects.

Surprised by Prednisone Side Effects:

Q. I was prescribed prednisone for sinusitis. It was a nightmare.

I gained weight and my face puffed up. I had strange dreams when I could sleep, which was rare. I became irritable and aggressive. Things that wouldn’t normally bother me made me want to scream.

I wish my doctor had warned me about these prednisone side effects in advance so I would have been better prepared.

A. Prednisone is a corticosteroid used to ease a variety of inflammatory conditions ranging from asthma and severe poison ivy to arthritis and lupus.

As useful as it can be for serious health conditions, there is a long list of troublesome side effects. Some of the most common include fluid retention (edema), insomnia, irritability, mood swings, disorientation, high blood pressure, loss of potassium, headache and swollen face.

Long-term complications may include muscle weakness, osteoporosis, cataracts, glaucoma and ulcers. Prescribers and pharmacist should warn patients what to expect in the way of prednisone side effects so they do not suffer in the dark as you did.

Steroid Psychosis from Prednisone Prescribed for Sinusitis:

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, including sinusitis. Many people experience severe psychological reactions to high doses of such drugs, however.

Steroid psychosis can cause anxiety, agitation, euphoria, insomnia, mood swings, personality changes and even serious depression. Some patients 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.

Scary Prednisone Side Effects that Have Been Reported to Us:

A.C. shared this story:

“Years ago I was given prednisone in the emergency room for a severe anaphylactic reaction that affected my ability to breathe and caused massive hives. Although the treatment may have been necessary, I too had a severe psychotic reaction and when I finally went to my own doctor and had blood tests, my blood chemistry was all over the map. I had to continue the tapered dose till I was done but I wish someone had warned me of possible side effects so at least I wouldn’t think I was totally crazy.

“I questioned my ability to drive, slept constantly and was quite volatile. I had to take a day off from work. Knowledge is power! People should be warned about possible side effects so they have the information should prednisone side effects occur.”

When people are unprepared for the psychological side effects of prednisone, they can be caught off guard. So can family, friends and co-workers. In A.C.’s case, the prednisone was was essential for survival. That said, A.C. should have been alerted to possible side effects.

As we mentioned earlier, corticosteroids are essential drugs for many conditions. A severe asthma attack may require a short course of oral prednisone or a similar steroid. People who are put on the new immunotherapy checkpoint inhibitors against cancer such as Keytruda or Opdivo may experience an overactive immune system. That can result in skin rash and itching, severe diarrhea and colitis, hepatitis, pneumonitis, adrenal insufficiency, eye inflammation and neurotoxicity. High doses of corticosteroids may be required to counteract such reactions to the cancer medications. Even then, people must be warned about complications.

Ely describes what happened after a moderate dose of prednisone:

“I’m having prednisone side effects. My doctor prescribed this drug last Thursday. She prescribed 20 mg twice daily for five days. I was sleepless for three days in row. On day 4 after a short nap I awake feeling so nervous. I am crying, my hands are shaking, and my heart is beating so hard. These are awful feelings.

“My doctor told me I will feel that way for about nine days. She didn’t show any care about me. She also said I can go back to work (and drive a long way) the next day. But the way I was and am feeling, I’m not daring to drive even one block.

“I do not understand why she prescribed that medicine, without any warning, for a small allergy I had. I mean the medicine was worse than my illness.”

Bob describes what it’s like to be sleepless on steroids:

“My wife had sleepless nights when on prednisone and the doctor said that she might do some odd things that she normally wouldn’t do. He was right. One night she got up and tore down the wall paper in our bathroom :-) We still get a laugh over this one.”

How to Stop Prednisone:

We may have mentioned that when steroids are taken even for a short time, such as a week or ten days, the usual protocol is to start at a relatively high dose and then taper it down gradually. That reduces the risk of an unpleasant withdrawal reaction. Always ask the prescriber about the taper and follow the instructions.

A.M.S was not told how to stop steroids:

“I was on 20 mg twice a day of prednisone for a sinus infection. Had I known anything about this horrible drug, I would have never taken the meds and let my sinus infection clear up on its own. That would have been better than these prednisone side effects.

“I was not told to taper the dose, so I took as prescribed 20 mg twice daily for 7 days. The day after stopping, my whole body hurt to the touch, as if I was black and blue all over. I was swollen, red and had a lump on my neck, not to mention being very disoriented. I went back to the doctor and he insisted this had nothing to do with the drug.

“I checked myself into the ER where they put an IV drip with Benadryl and the like. I was discharged that day. No change. Next day, didn’t hurt to the touch anymore. New side effect – rash from head to toe and severe indigestion. Following day, rash subsiding, indigestion getting better. Still feeling a bit loopy, but I am told by next week I should be back to myself again.

“I am warning everyone I know not to ever take a steroid unless your life is in danger. It is a very scary feeling – all for a sinus infection.”

S.K.F. describes prednisone withdrawal:

“I am experiencing high blood pressure, agoraphobia, panic attacks, lightheadedness, confusion, weakness, intolerance to heat, IBS, shaking, etc. These side effects all started the day I stopped the drug. It has been 7 days with not much improvement. I was hospitalized for 3 days. I pray I do not EVER have to take prednisone again… EVER.

“I am hoping I get past this. My quality of life stinks. I took 30 mg 1 day 20 mg 2 days and 1 mg 2 days. Absolutely HATE this.

Just the Tip of the Corticosteroid Iceberg:

These are just a few of the messages that have been posted to our website. At last count there were over 800 comments in the feedback section of this post. Feel free to add your story or comment below.

We find it astonishing that some prescribers do not warn patients about the possibility of psychological side effects brought on by prednisone and friends. Even a short-course of high-dose steroid can precipitate symptoms. And not telling patients about gradual tapering borders on bad medicine. To protect yourself and your loved ones from such medical mistakes we suggest our latest book, Top Screw-ups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them.

Psychological reactions such as insomnia and irritability are common, but they are certainly not the only prednisone side effects. Some of these adverse consequences, such as osteopenia, diabetes or glaucoma, appear only after long-term use of the drug. Others, such as confusion, high blood pressure or a drop in potassium, can occur on a shorter time frame. The most serious prednisone side effects that may happen within a week or two of use are dangerous blood clots (deep vein thrombosis), blood

Other Prednisone Side Effects:

  • Fluid retention, edema
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability, nervousness, mood swings, mania, depression, psychosis
  • Disorientation, confusion
  • Hypertension
  • Loss of potassium
  • Headache
  • Dizziness, vertigo
  • Muscle weakness
  • Blood sugar elevation (diabetes)
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Swollen face
  • Hair growth (including on the face)
  • Itching, rash, hives
  • Increased susceptibility to infection
  • Weakened bones (osteopenia, osteoporosis)
  • Tendon rupture
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Ulcers
  • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot)
  • Avascular necrosis of the hip

The higher the dose and the longer someone takes a drug like prednisone, the more likely there will be prednisone side effects. A recent study of people with steroid-dependent asthma reported that the majority of patients who had been taking prednisone for years experienced side effects such as bone density loss (72%), high blood pressure (60%), cataracts (42%), easy bruising (35%), diabetes (16%) and glaucoma (14%) (Aziz-Ur-Rehman et al, Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology, online April 4, 2017).

The People’s Pharmacy Perspective:

Make sure your physician is monitoring things like potassium, blood sugar, bone density and psychological well being. And again, never stop a corticosteroid suddenly!

We want to emphasize that corticosteroids can be very valuable. Some people must take them for the rest of their lives because of a very serious or life-threatening condition. And NO ONE should ever stop taking a drug like prednisone suddenly. It must be phased off gradually under medical supervision.

If you found this article of value, please take 3 seconds to scroll to the top of the page and vote on the usefulness of this information. Many thanks from The People’s Pharmacy.

Revised: 1/17/19

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  1. Lenzi
    Utah
    Reply

    Prednisone and other GLUCOCORTICOIDs at any dose can cause side effects and psychotic reactions. 10mg daily of Prednisone sent me into a psychotic state, complete with delusions and audio hallucinations. I spent 10 days in psychiatric care, along with a hefty dose of Risperdal and Depakote to pull me out of it. I will never be the same again, due to the PTSD I now suffer. This is a true story. Please think twice before loading your body with this poison. If you absolutely have to have it, just have someone watch you, and seek help immediately at the first sign of trouble. Good luck.

  2. Ann
    Indiana
    Reply

    I’ve had all the various experiences that others have described and have also wondered why no one is giving info re: side effects. I’ve taken prednisone off and on for over 40 years, and the last time was 2018 for pneumonia. I will never be the same after that last dose. The side effects have gotten worse over the years, but this time I thought I would die. The Dr. just shook his head and said it was necessary! I will think a long time before I take any of this medicine again.

  3. Gary
    IL 60016
    Reply

    Prednisone and Phototoxic plant juice rash from Wild Parsnips and Lime juice. I was exposed to Wild Parsnips, both arms and legs while climbing up and down a hill to a fishing spot. Full sunshine (85 degrees). I’d never heard of Phototoxic plants. As luck would have it, I did catch some fish, and because of that, I washed my hands several times removing the plant juice. But both arms and legs were later affected because I was in the sun and it took 5 months for Poison Ivy like symptoms to fade away. Low doses of Prednisone was a life saver.

    However, when the first dosage (5 days) wore off, the rash came right back. Not one of the doctors I went to knew anything about Phototoxic plants, finally after seeing a dermatologist who understood Wild Parsnips I was given a low dose for 4 weeks. Wonderful. More info on Wild Parsnips can be found at https://laidbackgardener.blog/2018/04/16/phototoxic-plants-dont-touch-when-the-sun-shines/

  4. Ann
    NC
    Reply

    I was struck by how many folks above mentioned having been prescribed prednisone for sinus infections. My integrative doctor referred me to studies by the Mayo Clinic showing that something like 96% of sufferers of chronic sinusitis actually had fungal overgrowth in their sinuses and in the discharge from same. Around 40 different species of fungi were found, with an average of two species per patient. I would think that anti fungal medication would be far more appropriate than prednisone, with far fewer ghastly side effects. I hope Joe and Terry will address this issue at some point.

  5. Ann
    NC
    Reply

    While reading people’s experiences, I was struck by how many folks were prescribed prednisone for sinus infections. I recently learned the following from my integrative physician:

    “In 1999, the Mayo Clinic did a study of 210 patients with chronic sinusitis. Biopsies of the sinus cavities and mucous discharge were examined and cultured. The results took mainstream medicine by surprise.

    “Ninety-six percent of the patients had fungal overgrowth in their sinuses, along with fungus detected in their mucous discharge. Forty different species of fungi were identified, with an average of two per patient.

    Chronic sinusitis is an immune response to the fungus. When white blood cells fight the fungus they create inflammation, resulting in swelling and mucous production, making us feel miserable with headaches, congestion and runny noses.”

    I am hoping Joe and Terry will do some studying of this phenomenon. Surely some anti-fungal treatment would be far preferable to prednisone!

  6. Charles Lefler
    North Carolina
    Reply

    As a primary care physician I have frequently found that hydrocortisone for polymyalgia rheumatica can be used instead of prednisone and with significant reduction of side effects. I always follow sedimentation rates together with symptoms to determine dosage and efficacy of disease control.

  7. Suzanne
    Youngsville, NC
    Reply

    I was given prednisone for a severe asthma attack. I lost all my sense of smell and taste while on it. Thankfully, both came back. But I have avoided the drug since.

  8. Muki
    Durham, NC
    Reply

    If you or anyone else you know is taking a high dose steroid, please read: “For Anyone Who is Coping with Prednisone, Revised and Updated,” by Eugenia Zuckerman and Julie R. Ingelfinger, M.D.

    My daughter was diagnosed with sudden onset AIED (auto-immune ear disorder) and the only treatment was to take a very high dose of prednisone for a month to see if it would help restore her hearing. It didn’t, so then she had to get off of it. I found this book, written by a physician and her sister, the renowned flutist, who underwent a similar experience. It was extremely helpful. My daughter followed their recommendations and since that time, we have both recommended it to others.

  9. Mary
    GREENSBORO, NC
    Reply

    I was quite interested (and surprised) to see hives listed as a side effect of prednisone. That has happened to me three times: once after being treated for a bad case of poison ivy (I thought it was just getting worse, and my dr just said I hadn’t given myself enough time to get over it). The next time was with some sort of steroid inhaler to treat a cough that wouldn’t go away (this time it manifested itself in my hands – itching and hurting to touch – had to cook Thanksgiving dinner with latex gloves on). The final time was to treat the same cough/lung irritation – this time I started itching and broke out in hives all over my body. My dr thought I was crazy and I had to show him pictures to prove what had happened. I’ve made him put “allergy to prednisone “ in big letters on my chart. Won’t be touching that stuff again!

  10. Tricia
    Australia
    Reply

    Does the saying “Trust me. I’m a Doctor” come to mind, anyone? We have a lovely GP, and even they can come unstuck in passing on information re: side effects. I had severe gout and was prescribed a steroid to reduce the inflammation (can’t remember now which actual one it was). I was given 100mg/day for 4 or 5 days. On day 3 I was carted off to A&E with atrial fibrillation as a side effect. Needless to say, I won’t be taking that medication again in a hurry, at least not at that strength!

  11. Carol
    Kernersville NC
    Reply

    My heart goes out to all those who have the awful side effects from taking prednisone. I am one of the lucky ones who does not experience those side effects. I take prednisone occasionally for rheumatoid arthritis flares or after a bad bout of acute bronchitis coughing. The only real side effect I have is excessive hunger. Prednisone works very well for me, and the difference in my joint pain is like night and day, almost like the RA is completely gone. I wish!

    I am now on Xeljanz and have not had a flare or needed to take prednisone. However, Xeljanz can have serious side effects, too. I am hoping some day there will be a drug that works as well as prednisone but with no side effects.

  12. Genevieve R.
    Atlanta, GA
    Reply

    After using prednisone off and on for many years due to severe allergies and sinus infections I can only agree with all the side effects mentioned here, but one. I kept getting a yeast infection in my mouth, throat, and esophagus. I will never use it again.

  13. P.
    NEW JERSEY
    Reply

    I, too, have experienced the same reactions as others to prednisone. When it has been prescribed by me I want to jump out of my skin because I know that I will become agitated, irritable, unreasonable, and angry. It reminds me very much of the same symptoms I had when I had my period. It makes me completely out of control.

  14. Jerry
    NJ
    Reply

    I have heard some very bad things about the side effects of Prednisone. However, I must say I have not experienced any of them. This drug seems to be the only one that I have tried that works to reduce the swelling bumps on my arms and back due to Sarcoidosis. Unfortunately, Prednisone has not eliminated the swelling completely, but has significantly reduced it. Unless I can find something else that works, I will have to stick with it.

  15. Karen
    Greenwood Indiana
    Reply

    I have taken 5 mg of prednisone for about twenty years for system lupus to keep my sedimentation rate down. I also have taken plaquenil for close to forty years, also for lupus. I have been grateful for none of the above side effects.

  16. Karen
    Los Angeles
    Reply

    I’ve been on prednisone for 10 years for dermatomyositis. That’s not a typo — 10 years. It will be 11 years in June. The longer a person takes prednisone, the more likely it becomes that they cannot come off. I’ve taken doses as high as 60mg, but have lived at 8mg daily for the past few years. I’ve tried several times to come off, but once I drop below 7mg, my autoimmune disease spirals out of control, and I’m back to a mega-high dose and start the slow process of reducing all over again.

    Prednisone is a deal with the devil. It saved my life when I was first diagnosed, but it continues to exact a heavy price on other aspects of my health in exchange. Osteoporosis, vertigo, thinned skin, and persistent low-level depression have taken quite a toll on my quality of life.

    But I am determined. It took a few months, but I’m down to 7mg once again. I’m enlisting the care of integrated practitioners to help my body successfully make the drop to 6 3/4 mg.

  17. Pat
    NC
    Reply

    I was on prednisone for 2 years because of Polymyalgia Rhuematica. It did allow me to function normally, and I have no recollection of any mental problems. I do recall the anxiety involved in weaning off the drug. That was 22 years ago. After about 3 years I started having problems with my right hip. The diagnosis was that the drug had desiccated the hip socket so I had to have a complete hip replacement. Another 3 years later, same diagnosis with the 2nd hip resulting in my second hip replacement. Most recently I had a great deal of problems with my right shoulder. Result is another complete join replacement. Then I started having back problems and, long story short, I have had three back surgeries due to desiccated vertibrae.

    No more! I have had it with surgery. I function very well work out 3 times a weeks, walk miles a week with my dog and play golf. I just had the will to continue in spite of adversity. I am to be 79 this year, and my friends call me the “Bionic Woman.”

  18. Bob
    SC
    Reply

    This subject should be divided into two different categories: long and short-term usage of prednisone. From our perspective short-term use has had little, if any, side affects with exception of one time when I decided I wasn’t going to finish the prednisone 6 day pack and quit after 3 days. Nothing occurred at that time but months later I was mentally doing some things that made zero sense. I would measure something and the next day find it to be grossly wrong. This side effect only occurred for a short period of time but it was scary.

    My wife was put on a low dosage of prednisone for some gastro conditions. After a year she contracted a bad case of shingles which other doctors said was probably due to being on prednisone for such a long period of time, which lowers one’s immune system. One doctor said that this would have been his very last method of treatment for her original condition. The shingles episode caused other issues, and now she has had chronic nerve pain issues for over 8 years. Given the lowering on one’s immune system I would never suggest using prednisone for long periods of time.

  19. roby
    chapel hill
    Reply

    I’m sorry to read of the bad experiences of the other posters. For me, prednisone has been a lifesaver. I have polymyalgia rheumatica, and the pain I was suffering was immediately stopped with one 20mg tablet. As it is an auto-immune condition, I’ve been on prednisone for nearly 1 year now, and the only side effect I have is that I’m more hungry than usual. I’m hopeful that I will be able to taper off soon without the polymyalgia returning.

  20. LF
    USA
    Reply

    Joe, once again, you still need to distinguish between physiologic and pharmacologic doses. Prednisone is also used for adrenal insufficiency and is metabolized to hydrocortisone, which is what one’s own adrenal glands produce, and one would die without it. For people who have difficulty taking hydrocortisone 4x daily, on schedule, prednisone in the physiologic range is a workable alternative. Yes, there are side products, other hormones, produced in the process of being metabolized to hydrocortisone, the desired end product.

    I agree it is overused and in often prescribed dose ranges that are WAY above the physiologic range. I had one physician in my area call a 5 mg dose of prednisone “homeopathic”, because he did not understand the chemistry and physiology involved . Therein lies the real problem. Many physicians don’t know how to use steriods properly. It seems that you personally suffered from one of these people.

    Instead of frightening people, including physicians, educate them on proper use of steroids. That is beyond the scope of your web site, however, and change needs to be taught in the medical schools.

  21. Susan
    Indiana
    Reply

    I am currently on Methylprednisolone after hurting my hip. My doctor suspected Tendonitis. I was in such severe pain that I would try anything at this point. Doctor said that he hated to put me on it but thought it was the best thing for my hip. I could not walk at this point. I am taking the 4mg 7 day decreasing dose. I am only on day 3. I was at work on the end of day 1, and as I was leaving I started sweating and my chest started hurting, and I felt disoriented. I could not go on. The manager called for an ambulance (my 1st ride in an ambulance, and I am almost 65} My heart rate actually scared everyone there including paramedics. My heart rate went from sky high to almost nothing. They inverted me and had me blow as hard as I could without blowing air out. Kind of holding my breath and blowing like I was blowing up my head! I had heard of this if you are alone and feel like you may be having a heart attack. Trust me, it works! My heart rate instantly went back to normal.

    I have had a constant dull headache since I have been taking the meds. My doctor said that he hated to put me on this med but did not tell me anything about the side effects except for high blood sugar numbers. Mine has been running 300 daily, and I take three insulins! I am in contact with my diabetic doctor. My hip is very slowly improving but still very painful. I have lost two weeks of work and had to file for FMLA to keep from losing my job. My only advice is to be very aware of the side effects of this medicine.

  22. Gail H.
    NC
    Reply

    I have heard no mention of something that is also one of the dangers of Prednisone: It compromises the human immune system, the coat of armor that protects us from all the bacteria and viruses that we come into contact with on a daily basis.

    After I finished with “the false sense of energy,” as one respondent termed it, sleeplessness, extreme manic episodes, and highly aching joints, I was left with a severely lowered immune system. I had raised two separate families, and despite nursing all of them, had never had the flu in my life. I was rarely ever sick. However, after taking Prednisone, I suddenly caught the flu, Parvo, and then strep throat, one immediately following the other.

    Before my bi-lateral hip replacement surgery in 2014, I explained to the surgeon my severe reaction to prednisone and requested that he NOT give me any steroids. However, despite my request, he must have given them to me anyway. I stayed at home rehabilitating for six weeks and had a marvelously quick and easy recovery. Then my husband and I traveled to our cottage in Canada for the summer. In the first week, I went to a 50th anniversary party with 50-75 people. The next day, I could tell that something was wrong in one of my lungs. Though I did not feel sick, I began to cough. I finally located a Canadian doctor who would see me on a cash basis (without a Canadian Health Card). As is usual, he had me breathe deeply while he listened. He didn’t need a stethoscope to hear the shocking roar that came from my lungs. My husband heard it from the next room! The doctor did not have x-ray equipment and recommended that I go to the emergency room for diagnosis. Since I would have to pay hundreds/thousands of dollars in cash in advance, I hesitated. I got increasingly worse.

    After a couple of days, I received a phone call directly from the doctor himself (when does that ever happen in the U.S?!) asking how I was. He said “I’m worried about you. You need to go to the hospital.” I promptly did so and was diagnosed with pneumonia. I developed larnygospasms from all the mucous and could not breathe. One of the doctors had put me on hydrocodone cough syrup, and I also had to deal with paranoia from that after I arrived home. I didn’t want to take any more steroids to “help” me, so I coughed violently for 3 months. It took another 2 months for my ribs to heal. That was the year from hell. All compliments of steroids.

  23. Janice P.
    Reply

    Hell week, number three. Add that to ALL the intermittent doses between February 2018 up to my surgery date for a right total knee replacement.

    My husband and I went to Iceland and Amsterdam in February this year. We both had flu shots within 90 days of leaving. I came home sick with a fever, typical flu-like systems and coughing up blood. Saw my GP immediately after returning home. Negative flu and chest xray. Significant wheezing and rhonchi noted with breath sounds. Meds: Prednisone dose pack, Prednisone shot, a cough syrup, as I could not quit coughing, inhalers, nebulizer treatments. Thus, began my road to a nightmare. Since then, I have been plagued with asthma, COPD-like symptoms, and I have no mitigating risk factors, familial or otherwise. Never a smoker and no second hand.

    There was an HRCT (high resolution CT scan of the chest) which showed I had what was termed “pulmonary fibrosis”. New pulmonologist suggested maybe I was environmentally exposed to “something”. I have worked in healthcare and surroundings for 40+ years. Why now am I having all these respiratory issues after a case of the flu? Within two weeks of discharge from the hospital for 8 days, I was readmitted in acute respiratory arrest. It appeared I contracted the human pneunometavirus (what a name). Another seven days in. So once I came off the steroids, within two weeks, I could not breathe.

    Here it is, after I’m awake at 3 am, shaking, tachycardia, mind scattered, dizzy, and the beat goes on. I am embarrassed at the person I have turned into. It has been so grossly unfair to my husband. I can’t say sorry enough. HE KNOWS THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG.

  24. annie martin
    adelaide sa
    Reply

    I ‘ve been on prenisolne for 2 years Im not taking it now but has any one experience migraines humming in head abdominal pain feeling sick shaking? because I have ?I’m better but still experiencing like migraines is there anyone I can ring to talk to professionel

  25. Barb
    Reply

    Hello all. I have just finished a 9-day course of prednisone due to an allergic reaction to a bee sting, and I’m thankful that I’m done. The most challenging side effects have been disorientation, disassociation, and anxiety. If I took the medication in the morning I was fine by the evening. Sleep – forget that! I recommend having your doctor prescribe an anti-anxiety med along w/the medication if you’re so prone. That way at least you can sleep at night.

    In the meantime I’m so glad I’m done. Am grateful that my rash is gone, and that I will soon get my sanity back.

    Such an odd, weird 9 days – and ones that I choose not to repeat – EVER!

  26. SUE
    New Zealand
    Reply

    I am very worried about my mother. She has been on and off prednisone for polymyalgia for several years. Today the Dr. has given her what he calls a “kick start” dose of 20mg which she is to take for a month, and then less for the next month and on and on. I had informed the Dr. previously that she is more mentally alert when off the drug. She has had odd behaviors when on it, and we feel that at 83 she has a level of dementia. So today he prescribed this nightmare drug before even seeing a blood test result. When asked what the side effects are, he said “nothing really.”

    I believe my mother is addicted to the false sense of energy that it gives her. She has played Dr. Google and presents to the Dr all the symptoms of the illness. Now this evening, after one pill, she is away with the fairies, talking in a little girl voice. I am alarmed and do not know what to do. Leading up to this latest round she has talked constantly about aches and pains in her legs but when I question her she cannot describe the pain, and I have worked out that it is muscle weakness, which I now know is a side effect of the drug. Anyone reading this who has an elderly parent: stay away from this drug. The consequences can be alarming. I have spoken with a Dr. friend who has said to me that this was lazy Doctoring and an awful clinical decision.

  27. Molly E
    NY, NY
    Reply

    I almost lost my 20-year-old daughter to a fast-onset psychotic reaction to prednisone given to her by an oral surgeon. Day 3 of a normal 7-day medpack dose, she started screaming about dying and trying to take her own life, and thus began a nightmare that included 2 forced hospitalizations. It was finally brought to a close by a great psychiatrist and some Depakote. I learned a lot about corticosteroids in the months that I dealt with this, such that I will NEVER take them or allow anyone around me to if I can stop them.

    It is unconscionable that they are given out for non-life-threatening swelling or skin irritation, and after watching the incredible distortions to my child’s mind and perception, every time I read about someone who suddenly went off the rails I question whether they had been dosed with this drug in the recent past. Six months after cessation from the drug my child was normal again, and she hasn’t had psych issues since (it’s been 3 years). She stayed on Depakote for 3 months. I can’t say enough good things about Depakote for steroid psychosis, it knocked the wild bipolar mood swings, suicidal ideation, and raging paranoia down within 3 days.

    Don’t touch corticosteroids unless your life depends on it. If you have to use them, get someone you trust to watch over you carefully. Based on our experience, if you are having a negative reaction, it will end completely 6 months past your last dose.

  28. Dutch
    Pennsylvania
    Reply

    Have been on Prednisone for 3+ years for PMR . Highest amount was 15 mgs. Recently started taper off again. Am currently down from 4-3 mgs for about a week. Seems like every time I try to taper I get terrible GI problems with acid reflux , diarrhea, upper abdominal pain . Yesterday and last night I had upper abdominal pain and reflux. Got only about 3 hours sleep . Anyone else out there with similar complaints ?

  29. sarah
    nj
    Reply

    I’m a 63 year old female with several auto immune diseases. The worst symptom I’ve experiences was severe flu like feeling without the flu. I’d vomit for days on end, be too weak to stand, violent headaches and pains in muscles and joints. I was also tremulous during these attacks. I’ve been on high dose prednisone, about 40 mgs per dose on and off for 22 years. Without it I would have preferred death because the way I felt was intolerable. It doesn’t work anymore for the pain but it still keeps the flu like symptoms under control. I take it about every 4 days and for me that eliminates the horrible side effects I used to experience when on it daily. I’ve been reading about the theory that Alzheimer’s is primarily caused by inflammation . Have there been any studies of people on long term high dose prednisone? Could it prevent Alzheimer’s?

  30. Ruth
    Adairsville Ga
    Reply

    I was put on 20mg twice a day for 4 days. I have very low blood pressure, and I’m very tired,confused and dizzy. I never heard of prednisone for this. I’ve taken it before for rashes from unknown causes and for asthma. I really don’t like it, but it’s only for 4 days.

    • Melissa
      Nova Scotia
      Reply

      I’ve been on prednisone for 3 weeks now for ITP. My dose began at 18 pills every morning (90mg), and starting this week was tapered by 10mg and every week on out to wean myself off.
      I’ve had every one of these symptoms covered, and I just wonder if the weight gain/moon face will start to decrease???

      I feel like I’m going crazy.

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