Low Cortisol after using Prednisone

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MissLadybug
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 261
   Posted 12/4/2011 9:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello all. I have been on Prednisone since last February, so almost a year. I started out on 20mgs and have since tapered having to re-up my dosage a few times for flareups. I was down to 1mg but got an email from my rheumy yesterday saying my cortisol level was low .and I had to resume taking 7.5mg that day and then after 2 weeks switch over to hydrocortisone to try and taper off of that. I read about adrenal insufficiency(addisons disease)and adrenal crisis, as well as, the in-betweens and how it can be autoimmune vs genetic vs due to medication usage. The medication seems to be the culprit at the moment. I'm just curious if anyone has had to do this too and what they do as far as the hydrocortisone(dosage, lenght of time, if it worked etc.?) and also, how can you tell the difference between medication induced adrenal insufficiency and autoimmune AD? Thanks and hope you all are well.

-LadyBug aka Brittanee
*Lupie Britt*- Epilepsy Dx: 2003 & UCTD w/SLE features Dx: 2009 SLE/Lupus Dx: May 12th 2011--Current Meds:Plaquenil-200mg 2x/day, Prednisone-1mgs taper 1mg every 4 wks, Keppra-750mg 2x/day, Daily Vitamin- 1 pill/day, Folic Acid- 1mg 1x/day, Protonix 40mg 1x/day,Vit. D 800IU's 1x/day, Lyrica 50mgs 1x/day, Flonase 50mcg 2 sprays each 1x/day.

*Lord_Walters_Lady*

Lynnwood
Forum Moderator


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 7699
   Posted 12/4/2011 10:59 AM (GMT -6)   
Often the overwhelming fatigue that accompanies lupus is due to low adrenal function, and it must be *supported* by the additional cortisol from prednisone. One the body is back to regular function, prednisone is *very slowly* cut back so that the adrenal glands can repair and phase themselves back into functioning correctly.

I hadn't heard of anyone switching to hydorcortisone for the slow phase out period, but it makes just as much sense.

I don't think you can tell the difference between medically induced and autoimmune -- it's all messing around with our hormones and they are so interconnected with everything else that we don't yet know exactly the cause/effect/etc. Maybe you could tell the difference if you were tested before autoimmune and before medication, but how likely is that testing to happen?

I was on 15-20 mg for over 5 years, but as my body began to heal and the inflammation become controlled, I was able to slowly cut back and my adrenal function returned to normal and I no longer take any prednisone!

Hope it works that way for you as well,
Lynnwood, Lupus & Sjogren's Moderator
DIAGNOSING-LUPUS & LUPUS-RESOURCES
"Life is far too important to be taken seriously" - Oscar Wilde

MissLadybug
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 261
   Posted 12/4/2011 11:08 AM (GMT -6)   
Do you have any lasting effects from the prednisone though from taking it so long? That's what I'm afraid of. I don't gain weight with it i've actually lost it. I only weigh 98lbs now and I've done everything to try to gain it...added salt, processed foods, added a boost with extra calories everyday...nothing has worked...
*Lupie Britt*- Epilepsy Dx: 2003 & UCTD w/SLE features Dx: 2009 SLE/Lupus Dx: May 12th 2011--Current Meds:Plaquenil-200mg 2x/day, Prednisone-1mgs taper 1mg every 4 wks, Keppra-750mg 2x/day, Daily Vitamin- 1 pill/day, Folic Acid- 1mg 1x/day, Protonix 40mg 1x/day,Vit. D 800IU's 1x/day, Lyrica 50mgs 1x/day, Flonase 50mcg 2 sprays each 1x/day.

*Lord_Walters_Lady*

Lynnwood
Forum Moderator


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 7699
   Posted 12/4/2011 11:15 AM (GMT -6)   
Nope, nothing bad happened to me (on the way to the zoo).
Lynnwood, Lupus & Sjogren's Moderator
DIAGNOSING-LUPUS & LUPUS-RESOURCES
"Life is far too important to be taken seriously" - Oscar Wilde

MissLadybug
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 261
   Posted 12/4/2011 11:20 AM (GMT -6)   
lol okay....guess we'll just have to see how i fair then!
*Lupie Britt*- Epilepsy Dx: 2003 & UCTD w/SLE features Dx: 2009 SLE/Lupus Dx: May 12th 2011--Current Meds:Plaquenil-200mg 2x/day, Prednisone-1mgs taper 1mg every 4 wks, Keppra-750mg 2x/day, Daily Vitamin- 1 pill/day, Folic Acid- 1mg 1x/day, Protonix 40mg 1x/day,Vit. D 800IU's 1x/day, Lyrica 50mgs 1x/day, Flonase 50mcg 2 sprays each 1x/day.

*Lord_Walters_Lady*
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