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.
Posted 2/16/2008 4:21 AM (GMT -7)
Hi Mark and welcome!
I am currently on prednisone for a flare that I just had. I've been on and off the drug ever since I was diagnosed.
I for one don't seem to have any problems with it. I do experience many of the things others have talked about but, it helps me get my flare under control for the time needed. The other things are nothing to me compared to being in a flare and the pain that comes with that. I am also very active...I exercise a lot and so I think this helps me make it through the bad things about this drug.
I also do think that it works to help you get back in control during a flare. It does for me anyway. I realize that everyone is different however this is just my experience.
I am also on Remicade, however, I just had a pretty bad flare and I really don't think it's working. I had a scope done two weeks ago and the doctor thinks we may need to increase my dosage. I will find out soon how that goes. I had to have some blood work done first and then she'll determine if it's still working for me. I do believe that it worked for a little bit when I first started it but now I really don't think it's working. So, technically it only worked for me maybe a few months.
Best of luck to you and all of the decisions you'll need to make.
This board is wonderful and has helped me so much. I hope you find it helpful too!
UC diagnosed in 1985...22 years.
50 mg 6mp, Rowasa and Cortenemas as needed.
Probiotics and Aloe Vera Gel, Chlorella and digestive enzymes.
Posted 2/16/2008 6:43 AM (GMT -7)
Thank you all for your wonderful insight. It's very encouraging to have discovered this community and also helpful emotionally to see you all helping one another. I'm touched.
As I mentioned earlier, I really feel as this is a pivotal decision for me. Get on these drugs – the real serious ones – and I may be on them for a long time and have trouble coming off of them. That's why I'm really wondering about alternative approaches. I think I owe it to my body to try something different before becoming even more dependent on drugs.
I do understand that the everyone's experience is different. But after being on 6MP for a little while, seeing no improvement AND having it affect my liver enzymes, I'm worried that others may do the same. Or worse. Asacol + Courtenema aren't solving the problem either. And, in the last two weeks, things seem to be getting worse. For example, I have pain now when before, I never did. I have more emergency bathroom runs that ever and I'm much more gaseous. (A trifecta!)
It's been 1.5 years since being diagnosed and I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Very frustrating!
Currently it is Sunday, January 20, 2019 6:00 PM (GMT -7)
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