A Journal of Prednisone Usage & Side Effects

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whatto5
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 3/29/2012 4:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello HealingWell Members!

I've been suffering from psoriasis/eczema for about 10 years now (different diagnosis from different doctors), which has been a major stumblingblock for me. Recently, this skin condition + scratching has resulted is several bouts with staph infection. Three weeks ago, the skin infection got out of control, and I went to a doctor. The doctor prescribed a regimen of prednisone and some antibiotics. I'd taken prednisone before, but never at so high a dosage. The first day's dose was 80mg, and I was supposed to taper down to nothing after 10 days.

Due to this high dosage of prednisone, the past two weeks have been some of the most difficult in my life. I'd like to provide a semi-organized list of side effects and how I dealt with them for the members of this forum. Hopefully, this will help someone in the future.

Two days after taking the first prednisone pill, I started to experience extreme levels of restlessness and nervousness. I initially thought I was just having a strange day, but the symptoms continued into the next day. I then realized that this sudden change in mood & mindset was probably due to the drugs I was taking. I then realized that I had experienced this kind of nervousness before, also during a prednisone regimen, but the side effects had never been so pronounced.

Let me describe my general mood during those first few days in a bit more detail. I was restless, filled to the brim with a nervous energy that had no outlet; nothing I did satisfied me. More than that, I could not imagine any activity, from ********** to running to eating to working to browsing the web to socializing to playing video games, that would please me in any way. Also, I was worried. When I tried asking myself what I was worried about, I couldn't give a good answer, I was just worried.

In addition to my general dissatisfaction with life and my worry, I was also very prone to extreme bouts of anger over the smallest of things. I would fume over any question put to me that I deemed pointless or irritating, and I couldn't stand any loud noises. I was also very prone to jealousy, an emotion almost completely foreign to me, about the silliest of things. I watched a theater production starring my brother, and I was intensely jealous that he could sing better than I could (***??).

It took a while for all this to sink in, but by the end of the third day, I fully realized that I was an emotional wreck.

I took a few deep breaths, and laid a few ground rules for myself:

1) I would continue to remind myself that this is TEMPORARY; I would be done with the drug soon.

2) I would not indulge in any kind of serious philosophical thinking. I'm a very introspective person by nature, and I knew the drug would taint my thoughts with negativity.

3) I would not make any important life decisions; everything from improving relationships to solidifying my sleeping patterns could wait.

4) I would put off all worrying until after the drug was out of my system. If I found myself in a state of worry, I would remind myself that now is not the time; I could worry later.

5) I would structure my entire day around making myself feel as good & normal as possible, while still honoring my obligations (work, etc.). Every day, I put serious thought into making myself feel better. I would eat just for the hell of it, take warm showers just for the hell of it, watch my favorite programs (and try to enjoy them), and drink copious amounts of coffee because it made me feel "excited" for a short period of time.

6) I would not let my intense mood swings affect my family & friends. If I ever felt anger coming on during a conversation, I would explain the situation, excuse myself, and deal with it in private.

7) If I ever felt, even for a minute, that I was completely out of control, I would call my doctor. This includes any paranoia, thought of suicide, or thoughts of violence.

I don't know what I would have done for those 10 days on prednisone, had I not taken the effects on my mood seriously. Making a list of rules like this and following it blindly has saved me from going crazy and saved my family from a moody monster. One notable thing about prednisone is that it greatly intensified my cravings for mood-altering substances like cigarettes, alcohol, etc. I had smoked on and off for a few years and and had stopped a few weeks prior because I didn't like the way it made me feel. However, I bought 1 pack of cigs to get me through 1 week or prednisone. They did help quite a bit.

There was one incident where I was exposed to some silly family drama (my brother and mom fighting over headphones), and I had to excuse myself, but it took me about 20 minutes of controlling my breathing and rocking back and forth to calm down. I thought carefully, and decided then that this was a serious enough incident to call my doctor and make an appointment. This was at the tail end of my prednisone regimen (I only had 1 pill left), and she asked me to not take the last pill and see her in two days. It's three days since the appointment and five days since the incident, and I haven't had any other episodes like that.

Since coming off of prednisone completely, I have noticed my mood symptoms gradually fading. I'm not 100% in the clear yet, but I can safely say that I feel A TON better. My nervousness/restlesness is almost completely gone; I only notice it once or twice a day. My patience with people is almost back to normal.

However, I'm experiencing new side effects from stopping prednisone completely. I have some joint pain, mild bouts of nausea, and general exhaustion during the day. It's also still hard for me to truly enjoy anything (but significantly better).

Hoped this helped someone. I'm usually OCD about the grammar and flow of my writing, but I decided not to focus on that too much here. I will post updates as my symptoms fade or worsen.

Update #1:
It's been a few more days (2-3), and I'm feeling consistently better and better. Nausea & joint pain is lessening, and my mood is normalizing. I now have the attention span to watch several tv episodes (Judge Judy FTW!) in a row... not sure if that's objectively good or bad, but pretty normal for pre-prednisone me. I haven't had any issues with anger or jealousy, though I do still feel pointlessly worried at times.

Update #2:
It's been 2 more days, and I'm feeling normal!! No more joint pain, nausea, or trouble enjoying stuffs. I forgot to mention in update #1 that I was also feeling exhausted during the day, only a few hours after waking up I would want to sleep again. This is gone as well. This may very well be the last update, and thank god for that! Peace out.

Post Edited (whatto5) : 4/2/2012 10:15:44 PM (GMT-6)


straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 14846
   Posted 3/30/2012 8:43 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello Whatto and welcome to the psoriasis forum. Wow, I just read your story and after doing so, I would have to really seriously consider not ever taking Prednisone again in the future. Yes, it is typical to have the mood swings and sometimes an increase in the appetite. I have heard many people that have taken Prednisone say a person can develop a love hate relationship with it and I do believe that. It has its place in the medical community but it sure can be hard on a person.

I do need to ask was the Prednisone rx'd for your psoriasis, if so did it clear your skin up? I have not heard of Pred being used for it is why I am asking. I have used ointments that had some steroids in those but never heard of taking oral ones for it. It will take some time for it to leave your system too.

I hope things continue to get better for you as time goes on. Take care.
Moderator, Chronic Pain Forum & Psoriasis Forum

whatto5
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 3/30/2012 10:54 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Straydog,

The prednisone was actually prescribed to help clear up my skin infection, and not my psoriasis. However, it did clear my skin up a lot, to the point where I would run my fingers over my skin and marvel that it was so smooth :).

My doctor discussed the side effects with me and is adding prednisone to the list of drugs I'm allergic to. So, I hopefully will not be taking it ever again.

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 14846
   Posted 4/3/2012 11:44 AM (GMT -6)   
whatto5 you have posted this update #1 and #2 and nothing else is typed, am I missing something here?
Moderator, Chronic Pain Forum & Psoriasis Forum

whatto5
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 4/15/2012 4:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi straydog,

The updates are in the original posts. It's common practice in some forums to edit the original post and then bump the thread when posting content like this. I'm a technical & analytical person, so I could list the reasons for this practice, but that's probably not what you're looking for ;). Feel free to delete the extraneous posts if you feel that they serve no purpose.

thankgodfortheinternet
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2016
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/1/2016 2:52 PM (GMT -6)   
whatto5 thank you so much for your post. I've been prescribed a prednisone taper over a period of six weeks and am into my second week now. I've been feeling uncharacteristically dissatisfied with life and like you said, no activities (even ones I always enjoy like swimming and watching my favorite show for God's sake) seem to excite me. I feel pretty much bummed out, irritable and sad for most of the day and I was thinking there's something terribly wrong with me. But after reading your post I can say that my mood patterns at the moment are freakishly similar and it makes me feel so much better that I can safely attribute them to the drug.

After all it's just temporary right? Good to know you returned to your normal self after going off the meds. Can't wait to be done myself so that I can go back to enjoying Grey's Anatomy marathons hehe. Much thanks once again.

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 14846
   Posted 9/1/2016 7:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello & welcome to Healing Well. whatto5 gave a very good description of the downside of Prednisone. Anyone that has much experience with it will tell you it is a love hate relationship having to be on it. Yes, you will return to your old self after being on it.

Take care.
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums
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