I am now on 2.5mg plus 50mg of imuran but was on 60mg of prednisone and 150mg of imuran 3 years ago. Some people have a terrible time with prednisone but the worst side effect I had was hypertension which has been controlled by other meds. On low doses most of the bad side effects are not a problem.
Google prednisone side effects and you will find a host of minor to very serious, life threatening ones. Keep in mind that most do not get the really bad ones but you never know who will. It is a miracle drug and has saved many lives but also caused serious side effects and conditions. Some people gain weight but I believe that many people continue to eat the same amount of calories and the wrong kind as well even though they might be disabled or much less active. Of course you will gain weight. I gained nothing by watching what and how much I ate. Stay away from simple carbs.....
I had the moon face and prednisone belly which is a redisposition of fat. As you taper to lower doses this goes away and is no big deal. Don't know what dose Lewis was on but from the looks he was probably up to 60mg or more at some point. 60 is generally the highest dose but I have heard of some extreme cases where patients have been on twice that for a short time.
Cortisol is the same thing that your adrenal glands produce naturally in the amount of 7-10mg daily. When you take a high dose of prednisone your adrenals shut down. As you taper they will kick in again although some patients have problems due to adrenal gland insufficiency (atrophy) and must take a low maintenance dose forever. This dose will be 15mg or lower.
Taking prednisone is always a risk/benefit situation and you should talk to your doctor about how much, how long, and what the taper rate would be. I had a case of prednisone resistant polymyositis and wound up a quadriplegic for a while but it did help control my lupus and scleroderma. It took IVIG and imuran to control my myositis and since my case was so extreme my taper has been very, very slow but it has worked. I do not have any really bad conditions from taking prednisone for over 3 years except hypertension which is under control.
Mixed connective tissue disease (systemic lupus, scleroderma, polymyositis), Raynauds phenomena, Hypertension, Barrett's esophagus.
Meds: prednisone 5mg, 50mg imuran, Lotrel 40/5mg, maxide 37.5/25mg, folic acid, potassium, aciphex 20mg, multi vitamins.
Maintain your optimism and you can beat the odds.
"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." Helen Keller