Welcome to HealingWell, MarkG. You'll get a lot of different experiences and opinions here, and being informed is your best defense now.
Prednisone can be a blessing when used for short periods of time. It will snap most people out of a bad flare within a week or two, and the short-term side effects are usually just a nuisance. It definitely isn't for maintenance, as the long-term side effects can be horrendous. Also, some people become steroid-dependent and can't taper off the steroids without flaring badly again. And the sad fact is that normally, over the course of time, it loses its effectiveness.
I was on Imuran for several years. It made me a little less sick, but no remission. I was lucky and had no side effects from it.
I've been on Remicade for two years now, and am finally in remission after being in a constant flare for five years. As you can imagine, I think it's the best thing on earth. In my case I've had no adverse reactions so far. They tell you it can lower your immunity, but I never get infections. I've had one cold in the past two years, and was recently on antibiotics for the first time since being on the Remi. With a little boost of taking extra probiotics, I made it through the abx without going into a flare.
There are others here who can tell you more than I about
alternative treatments and diets. Do be sure you're taking a good probiotic, though, as IBD is characterized by a decrease in the bacteria found in a healthy colon.
Have you tried Rowasa enemas? Oral medications don't really treat the rectal area because they're largely disolved and absorbed before they get there. Providing the same meds directly to the area can be very helpful in bringing things under control.
If you do need to use one of the second-tier drugs, just remember that all drugs, whether natural or pharmaceutical, have potential bad effects. My pharmacology professor once told us that when we take a drug, we're always balancing the potential good against the potential bad effects. I invite you to look up the possible side effects of aspirin: hemorrhage, swelling of the throat and trouble breathing, unconsciousness and coma, and so on. Companies are required to list every side effect that has ever been seen.
I hope you soon find the right combination for you, and are feeling much better.
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Asacol, Rowasa, Pentasa, Prednisone, Entocort, Azathioprine
Colazal, Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri.
In remission since April, 2006. Remicade has been my wonder drug.
Co-Moderator UC Forum