Long term effects of Prednisone? Your experiences...

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Stanley Ipkiss
New Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 7/19/2007 9:52 AM (GMT -7)   
All, As folks with AS [such as I] and as part of the auto immune family I figured you guys know more about the long term effects of prednisone than any other literature that I might read.
I've asked my Rheumatologist if he was willing to put me on 5mg prednisone/day for longer terms [say a year] and he refused. He says I won't have any bones left in a year or two. What has been your experience? Are there any supplements that you are taking to offset the effects of this wonder drug? What about say 5mg/every two days? or 2.5mg/day? Or the lowest possible dose? What have you heard from your doctors and what have been your experiences?

Post Edited (Stanley Ipkiss) : 7/19/2007 10:53:42 AM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 103
   Posted 7/19/2007 10:31 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Stan,

I am taking 5mg of Prednisone daily and I don't think my rheumatologist is taking me off it anytime soon. I started in May @ 30mg/day with decreasing doses until 10 mg - then 7.5 and recently decreased to my daily dose of 5mg/day. However I have been scheduled for a bone scan the end of next month. He says that many patients tolerate this dose for long-term therapy without the problems associated with higher doses.

I assume you have already looked up the side effects and long term effects of steroid therapy.

The American College of Rheumatology reports that the Osteoporosis Society of Canada recommends for patients receiving systemic glucocorticoid therapy for > 3 months the following (for men) for the prevention of Osteoporosis: Men age 19-50 - Calcium 1000mg/day, VitaminD3 400 IU/day Men > age 50 - Calcium 1500mg/day, Vitamin D3 800IU/day. Adeguate protein intake, avoid excess caffeine (>4 cups/day), avoid excess sodium > 2100 mg/day and exercise >/= 30 minutes 3X/wk. You should also avoid smoking and excess alcohol intake.

Hope this helps,

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 103
   Posted 7/19/2007 10:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Oh by the way - the reason I'm scheduled for the bone scan was that I asked my Rhematologist if I should be taking Calcium and Vitamin D supplementation. I am a 50 year ol female - perimenopausal. So he will base his recommendation on my bone scan.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 1539
   Posted 7/19/2007 10:53 AM (GMT -7)   
I took Prenisone for 2 years for a blood disorder at age 19,by the time i was 25 i had osteo arthritis,& the past 4 yrs I have Osteoporoisis.I take Evista for that.I'm 67 now.............

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1179
   Posted 7/21/2007 6:55 PM (GMT -7)   
ah prednisone, the evil wonder drug! i call it that cuz when u take it all cures seem to be on your side but we are not made to stay on it and getting off of it is very painful as all inflammation returns if you are not in a remmision from other trreatments.
my doc also does not want me to be on long term pred but he is agreeable to short term interventions to assist with the inflammation and pain, i just dont like going on it because A) i gain weight and B) it seems i hurt all over much worse when i come off a dose.
are you trying other complimenting drugs to gain control of your condition? i am not cetain of the AS drug famlies but i do know there are others like urself on this post so hopefull u will get moe responses. good luck and welcome , yes u r in the right spot. keep us posted lata yally

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 4305
   Posted 7/22/2007 12:29 AM (GMT -7)   
I was on prednisone at 60mg and when in the hospital I was on a 120mg through IV.It took a right at six months to wing and I will be honest with you they caused my lungs to act up and so there for none of my Doctors will script any kind of steroids because of this.The steroids also caused me to have drug indused dibeaties(sp)but once they were out of my system that problem cleard up.The steroids also caused me to have indused osteopena.You have to remember that we are all different and we all react to meds differently as well.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 7/27/2007 2:39 PM (GMT -7)   
When I was dealing with Fibromyalgia alone, my rheumatologist said "no" to prednisone because it "is a brutal drug."  I told him I would love to be able to take it for about a week every few months, just for the break from the pain. 
Well, now that I have a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis, he's now handing it out to me like it was Pez candy, for the inflammation in my index finger.  I told him I didn't want to take it because we just tried a Dospak and the inflammation would come right back after I finished the steroid and it was only a temporary fix.  I also didn't want to stay on something that was as bad as he said. 
Don't get me wrong -- I enjoyed the week of no pain, but if he wouldn't let me have it just two months ago, I didn't want it now.  I went ahead and took the prescription since he practically shoved it in my pocket, but I'm not going to fill it unless I get desperate.
Funny, how one diagnosis can change everything.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 9/26/2007 11:00 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello Stanleyipkiss,

I have been on prednisone 5mg. daily for about 5 years now. At times, maybe 3 so far, I have taken increased doses of it for 7 days at a time. Aware of the possible side effects. However, I was in so much pain and so debilitated by the pain in every joint in my body that I really believe that the prednisone in conjunction with the plaquenil, methotrexate that I am taking now is what has allowed me to be able to function these past years. I did have to take a disability retirement as I can not stand for over 30 minutes at a time and the kind of job I had required me standing all day.

Only because of my aggressive RA and the Osteo I suffer from do I continue to take these drugs. They help me to manage the pain and lead a semi normal life. I am thankful for them. I do have to have my eyes checked every six months because of the plaquenil and prednisone and am religious about taking my blood tests before every visit to my rheumy.

You and your doc have to consider the seriousness or agressiveness of you illness, etc. Hope this helps in some way.

DX:  RA/Osteo 5 years
  Methotrexate/Prednisone/Plaquenil/Folic Acid/Nexium/Ultracet or Flexiril

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