Chilli123 - in response to your post question, no. There is no "safe" way to stay on pred for life - even low doses seem to provide serious side effects when used long term.
That however is not to say that Abatacept, Remicade etc don't either - its just they are much newer drugs and the doc's simply don't know. However I really love the prednisone side effects of eye cataracts and death of the hip joint bone. They both scared the bejezzus out of me and helped encourage me to just deal with the pain of prednisone withdrawal. And yes, I was on prednisone for 18 months as well, with a good 6 months of that at 60mg. I also found that a drug called Colazide (in Australia - seach wikipedia) helped me SO much, and the Abatacept I am on can also be credited with keeping my system stable while I got rid of the pred.
Off prednisone now for 5 weeks. I will not lie, prednisone withdrawal is a long hard road, but you don't realise what its doing to you personally and how much it messes up your head until you are off it.
By the way -
My taper schedule was 5mg/month drop from 60mg to 30, then wait an extra month, then another 5/month to 20. After that it was 3mg drop/month from 20mg to 10 (14mg to 9mg was very hard). Then 2mg/month drop from 9mg to 4 (that was not pleasant) then wait an extra month. Then 1mg/month from 4mg to 0.
I will add that I added an extra 1mg into the mix for 2 days at a time when the symptoms became unbearable, but would then drop back to the scheduled dose. That seemed to help. This I used very sparingly.
Hope you find the right combination of drugs and natural remedies to get you through. I'll also mention I was using fish oil capsules from 14 to 0. I found that once I started taking them, the poop symptoms were not quite so nasty. I was taking 6 capsules, 3 times a day as was used in the two studies I was able to find.
"We are dreamers, shapers, singers and makers..." - Elric, elder Technomage
- 2xColazide, twice a day; 1x6-mp twice a day; 1xAbatacept 10mg/kg per month;
- 1xZinc per day, 2xScoop of Sustagen Sport per day;
- 1xBIOCeuticals UltraBiotic 45 per day, 1xBIOCeuticals SB FlorActiv per day;
- 1xHeaped teaspoon of Metamucil smooth orange powder 3 times a day.