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madsmom1030's avatar

Does anyone have a history of prolonged use of prednisone and what side effects have you experienced?

Asked by madsmom1030 (1033points) November 9th, 2008

I grew up with severe asthma and took prednisone daily for 22 years and then went off when it started affecting my liver function. I still have to use it when i get severe respiratory infections.

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12 Answers

jvgr's avatar

I haven’t, but as a steroid, it does have drawbacks.
If you are on and off of it from time to time, be sure to check out the section on Dependency as it seems to be one of those drugs you don’t simply stop taking, but rather taper off of.

madsmom1030's avatar

I was a severe asthmatic as a child and was on 20mg everyday. I went off of it cold turkey when I was about 23 because it was starting to affect my liver. The withdraw was horrible and I was trying to graduate lawschool at the same time. I know my issues with it are painful joints, some migraines, still poor immune system and we will see what happens next.

cdwccrn's avatar

I am sorry about your prednisone related discomforts.
It is a miracle drug. And it has its drawbacks that any read of pharmacy material will show. But, when you need it, you need it. Prednisone can save lives.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

hi madsmom,

i also was on prednisone also, and I too know how horrible the withdrawl can be.

I want to apologize for cdwccnrn’s useless comments. If I had asked the question they would only make me feel worse. you didn’t ask what the pharmacy material said, you asked for personal experiences.

I didn’t take it for nearly as long as you did, but I was on 60 mg at one point (and I only weighed about ninety lbs). i had a rare autoimmune disease as a child.

of course there’s the puffiness. i gained about 20 lbs when i first started taking it, and it seemed like it went straight to my face (blegh!). it’s hard for me to separate the effects of my illness from the effects of the prednisone, but the effects of the withdrawls made themselves quite clear.

i can’t imagine going off of it cold turkey. i think i would have killed myself or someone else. i went off it really really gradually, my mom cut my pills into little tiny pieces so that i would go down by about half a mg a day by the end. my rhumatologist had no idea what the mental and psychological effects were. she was completely mute about that part. we happened to have a family friend who was a psychiatrist, and he taught my mom what she should do.

even still, i was a basketcase. i cried because another child at school pulled my hair or something. i yelled at everyone. i cried because i didn’t finish my homework on time because i had slept from 3:00 pm to 7:00 the next morning because i was sick. it never occurred to me that my teachers knew i was sick and they would understand.

answerjill's avatar

A relative of mine took it and the doctor thinks that it made her bones more fragile. She is young, but she has something like osteoporosis.

cdwccrn's avatar

people do not need to call my comments useless or apologize for them.
I answered the way I did because while I have limited experience as a patient taking prednisone, I have extensive experience as a nurse giving it to patients and a working knowledge of both it’s good effects and uncomfortable side effects.
I did not chose to spell them out here. Patients can get that information from other professional sources, in a more private forum.
I guess part of the reason I answered as I did was to remind everyone how important this drug can be, lifesaving as it is, while acknowledging that the side effects can be pretty awful.
Agai , la chica, sorry if my answer seemed inadequate or inappropriate to you, but do not apologize for me. I meant no offense and was well intended.

cdwccrn's avatar

a reading of the side effects of this drug, which effects virtually every part of the body, as is clear from the answers above, is pretty terrifying stuff. I did not want potential patients who need prednisone to read these answers and then refuse to take it, or current patients wean themselves prematurely.
Please forgive me, madsmom, if I upset you in anyway. I truly did not intend to do so, and hope your weaning process isn’t too awful. Keep us posted. Blessings.

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alex8312's avatar

I was prescribed Prednisone some time ago by an ENT as a last ditch to save my hearing. My left ear’s hearing went silent suddenly (an effect from radiotheraphy while treating nose cancer, which happened two years after the treatment). The ENT advised that there is no medical treatment for the sudden hearing loss. Prednisone was just a short in the dark. After a series of large doses (25mg three times per day for two days), my hearing came back. A miracle indeed. Like all Prednisone prescriptions, I tapered off over a period of two weeks.

Unfortunately, it was not a cure. The sudden hearing loss recurred a year later, and again Prednisone treatment restored it (not completely, but about 85%). Better to hear something than be half deaf. This has recurred infrequently about once every two to three years (over the past 10 years), and each time Prednisone does the job. I continue to take it just for a month-long duration each time with no noticeable side effects.

it is indeed a miracle drug, and I am thankful for it. More importantly, it is very affordable.

Aster's avatar

I knew a young father in his thirties with six kids. His face swelled up significantly. Next thing I knew he had died. I don’t know any more details. It was in the sixties. Very sad.

LaurieB's avatar

I have been on Prednisone for 5½ years to treat severe Dermatomyositis. My body blistered from head to toe from the inside out. It is a wonder drug no doubt. I have also been taking Imuran and Plaquenil besides the Prednisone. Needless to say it has been a long journey which I hoped was almost done.I am now diabetic from the weight gain. I have been tapering for a few years and am having a very hard time at about 3mg’s. Severe insomnia, can’t turn my brain off at night, bad headaches, clonus flaring (tremors or bouncing motion), a feeling of almost mental illness like I am loosing it, nausea, musles jerking and so on. I have now split my dosage to morning and afternoon. Thank goodness for the internet through this whole process. Being able to share with other people you can learn a lot.

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