Prednisone is the first line of attack for treating many different AI diseases and is usually effective. It has been used for a half century or more so doctors know a lot about how it works and what are the side effects. Many patients have minimal side effects but some have serious ones and have to stop taking it. It has saved many lives by suppressing the immune system and stopping it from attacking your body. Most patients do not experience additional fatigue or joint pain....it usually helps with those symptoms.
Your adrenal glands produce more cortisol (prednisone is the synthetic version) daily than a 5mg dose. Normally 5 mg would be considered sub theraputic and only a maintenance dose for someone who has tapered from a higher dose and for one reason or another needs to keep taking a low dose. You should not experience any of the dire side effects you have read about on the internet. If aspirin was discovered today the list of side effects would prevent it's use.
I have been on pred for 4.5 years and the worst side effect I had was hypertension....and I started out with 60mg (some patients initially take 80-120mg) for several months. Had a moon face and prednisone belly for a time but they disappeared as the dose was lowered. No problems sleeping although that is a very common problem and I did not gain any weight which is a common problem. You need to pay attention to what and how much you eat when you are on pred....no simple carbs and reduce the carbs. If you are on a higher dose of pred for years you should see an opthamologist annually.
My only question for your doctor would be why such a low dose? Most start with something higher and then taper to a maintenance dose if it seems to be working. Depending on the case they might also introduce a prednisone sparing drug and once that takes effect taper pred. Sometimes a taper can take many months or even a couple of years.
MCTD (lupus, scleroderma, polymyositis). Diagnosed 2005. Kidney, liver, GI tract, dysphagia, raynauds, Barretts esophagus, quadriplegic in 2005. Recovered and now active in skiing, tai, chi, hiking, golf. Meds: prednisone 2.5mg, imuran 25mg, amlodipine, benazapril, omeprazole, potassium, folic acid, vitamins, maxide and various supplements and vitamins.
Remain optimistic and you can overcome the odds.