Prednisone/Plaquenil question

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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 122
   Posted 8/22/2008 9:06 AM (GMT -6)   
So I'm on Prednisone again after weaning off of it.  sad cry
I don't get many side effects generally, but with prednisone I DO.
So I'm a bit upset my Rheumy put me back on it.  It does help, but this can't be a long term affair.
Is plaquenil another option instead of the prednisone?
I do understand the side effects of Plaquenil.  So I'm just wondering.
I see my Rheumy on Tuesday the 26th.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 5514
   Posted 8/22/2008 8:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Nev,
There could be many reasons why you were put back on Prednisone.  Plaquenil is a great drug (I have no experience with it, but many people with lupus take it).  Both pred and plaq are often prescribed together.  I'd ask your rheumy about it and have them explain why they made that choice for you. 
Good luck!
I can do anything through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. I have learned in whatever state I am in,to be content. Phillipians 4:11-13

34 years old. Diagnosed with lupus in 2000. Fibromyalgia, anti-phospholipid syndrome(APS)(stroke),Sjogren's, Raynaud's, seizure disorder-(miraclulously disappeared!), Libman Sach's Endocarditis, vasculitis, sacroiliitis, arthritis (neck) . Prednisone, Imuran, Coumadin, Clobazam, Amitriptyline, didrocal, Cozaar, calcium, Cykolokapron, multi-vitamin, vitamin D, Magnesium, vitamin B6, Acidophilus

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2113
   Posted 8/22/2008 8:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Plaq is not a substitute for prednisone.
Prednisone is an intermediate acting corticosteroid-which means it has direct anti-inflamitory properties that take effect begining in a few hours. It is ment to get this undercontrol now and diminish your pain.
Plaq is a longer time medication it may take two months before their is a noticable difference. It has not direct anti-inflamitory properties and instead works on the immune system-though the mechanism is not known.
As the plaq takes effect your rhuemy may have you reduce the dose of pred until it can be determined if the plaq will be enough for you then you may add another medication if the plaq alone isn't enough to allow you to get off the pred without undo pain.

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Date Joined Nov 2003
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   Posted 8/22/2008 11:31 PM (GMT -6)   
When I was first diagnosed with lupus I was put on prednisone and plaquenil to help control my severe joint inflammation. The prednisone began workiing in 3 days and helped reduce my joint inflammation. I had some issues with the plaquenil, nausea and extremity swelling. My rheumy told me that he has never had anyone have leg and hand swelling on plaquenil but he does not doubt it is from the plaquenil. I'm off the prednisone and must say that I am working on adapting to the plaquenil because I can tell it is helping. Without the plaquenil, I doubt that I would be able to type this reply.
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CD, Ankylosing Spondylitis, lupus, small fiber peripheral neuropathy, avascular necrosis, peripheral artery disease, degenerative disc disease, and a host of other medical problems.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 122
   Posted 8/23/2008 8:36 AM (GMT -6)   
thanks for responding, I just didn't know the specifics.


New Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 8/25/2008 8:03 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi, I'm new to  I was diagnosed with RA in March of 2006.  I take both prednisone and plaquenil.  I heard someone once say that prednisone is the drug one loves to hate. It really does wonders to control inflammation, but has nasty side effects when given in large doses and/or used for a long period of time.  My first experience with prednisone was horrific (I was on 60mg per day, then on to 50, then 40).  I didn't take it again until 3 months later.  I had been hospitalized and basically was not given a choice.  As you may already know, it is the most commonly prescribed drug to control inflammation.  I have to say that it does work.  Since February, I have gone from a maintenance dose of 10mg per day to 2.5mg every other day.  My doctor finally agreed with me to start tapering me off the drug.  This is my second bout at tapering.  The first time I tried cutting back, the chronic cough came back with a vengeance (I have a chronic cough due to what has been described as a rheumatoid lung) and this time it's joint pains that have returned.  I have to say overall that I have not had really bad side effect from the prednisone, except for when I was on the very high dosages I mentioned earlier.  However, I recently had a bone scan in which they found some osteoporosis.  So, you want to make sure that you follow your doctor's advice to take calcium and Vitamin D while you're on this drug.  Re the plaquenil, from what I"ve read, it is one of, if not the, safest RA drug out there.  I've been told that it takes several months to work, but to be honest with you I can't really tell if it's working or not.  It does work differently from the prednisone as already stated, in that its purpose is to slow the progression of the disease; it does not help with inflammation.   

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 553
   Posted 8/25/2008 10:39 AM (GMT -6)   
I have read that you can't really tell if the plaquenil is working till you get off of it and feel the effects that it had been preventing. Kind of like when you don't notice the temperature till it becomes uncomfortable.
When you cannot stand, on whom do you lean?

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