Adrenal Insufficiency, Addison's and Lupus

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Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 261
   Posted 5/20/2012 2:46 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello all,

I kind of touched on this subject a while back in a post but I wanted to create one specific to it in hopes that someone else has some specific answers or experience with it. I have been on prednisone since Feb(I think)of 2010. I was put on it for pleurisy. T highest dose I've ever been on is 60mg, although I've also had 1 or 2 iv doses of 125mg Isumedrol. I had tried to taper 3 different times off the prednisone. The first time I ended up flaring with the pleurisy again so I went back up in dosage. The 2nd time I had a low cortisol level and was having bad adrenal dysfunction symptoms due to trying to taper which also ended up in a flare at the same time. I do recall having what I thought was a cold before all this happened. The third time I had another flare with pleurisy. Then I was put on MTX with everything else(see below at my laundry list of meds lol)After being on that for a few weeks at 7.5mg I started having anxiety attacks and it woke me up at night one time. When my labs came back my cortisol again was very low. So she raised me from 7.5mg which is the physiologic dose our bodies should make without supplement to 10mg which I'm on currently still. I guess what I'm to figure out now is what in the world is this exactly? Addison's, Adrenal Insufficiency, Adrenal Fatigue,etc? I know there are different manifestations which resemble and can mimic lupus. I also know in order of least to greatest level of severity would be Adrenal Fatigue, Insufficiency and then Addison's. My rheumy said she suspected it was lupus inflammation/flaring, adrenal insufficiency and something else closely related...sorry the brain fog has prevented me from knowing at the present moment! lol...ugh...

Anyway, my rheumy says the 10mg is enough to treat adrenal insufficiency until I can get in to see the Endocrinologist June 6th.
I guess I'm wondering what to expect when I go there? And I'm curious if this is really adrenal insufficiency which is caused by the prednisone since I haven't been on it as many years as a lot of you OR if it could be autoimmune adrenalitis because I had the adrenal symptoms even before would make sense even with the symptoms that seem to be nervous system related that haven't showed positive for neuropathy,etc. My neuro nor my rheumy have wanted to answer me about having CNS symptoms so I guess they don't believe that's what it is. My mri's have been normal etc so now I'm thinking perhaps they were right and this could be the adrenals and potential Addison's. Is there a way to tell the difference as to which is which?

I'm feeling pretty good the past few MTX was bumped up from 7.5mg to 15mg 2 weeks ago and it seems the first few days are hard cuz i'm wiped out and then the last few days i'm pretty good as long as i stay inside all the time. I'm severely sensitive and allergic to sunscreen. 10 minutes tops and i have a rash even having shades open in the house. So, while i'm thankful that I am feeling well on the 10mg pred and the MTX, i'm kind of worried/wondering about the adrenal issue and if my adrenals have just shut down completely....lots of thoughts going through my brain right now...Hope you all are well.


Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 7723
   Posted 5/20/2012 3:08 PM (GMT -6)   
You may not be able to get conclusive answers since these can be overlapping diseases/conditions. Lupus can cause adrenal glands to fail or reduce their output, as can other things. I'm fairly certain that as long as you remain on prednisone that the endocrinologist won't be able to do conclusive testing. Not sure how your other meds may also interact with the adrenals.

Sometimes, since several diseases can overlap so closely, getting treatment for the symptoms is much more important that stressing out trying to pinpoint a diagnosis -- our bodies are so complex a real diagnosis might even change from week to week!

Have you had a positive ANA? That might be the defining factor that says it's Lupus rather than a strictly adrenal issue.
Lynnwood, Lupus & Sjogren's Moderator
"Life is far too important to be taken seriously" - Oscar Wilde

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 261
   Posted 5/20/2012 3:16 PM (GMT -6)   
yes and my ANA's have been positive for a few years fact the last one done was the highest it's ever been at 1:160 and the pattern has changed from speckled to homogenous. My c3 and c4 complements have stayed low as well despite treatments...I have yet to get my blood work done for this month though.
*LadyBug*- Epilepsy Dx: 2003 & UCTD w/SLE features Dx: 2009 SLE/Lupus Dx: May 12th 2011--Current Meds:
Plaquenil-200mg 2x/day
Prednisone-7.5mg 1x/day
Methotrexate- 2.5mg 4 pills 1x/week
Keppra-750mg 2x/day
Daily Vitamin-1x/day
Folic Acid- 1mg 1x/day
Protonix 40mg 1x/day
Bentyl- 10mg 4x/day, Miralax- 17g 1x/day
Vit. D 800IU's 1x/day
Lyrica- 75mg 1x/day
Flonase 50mcg 2 sprays each 1x/day

Wanna know my story, just ask!

*Lord_Walters_Lady* <3
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