I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 1999. I went 4 years with out any issue and had a flare which only lasted a short time and was easily taken care of by increasing my Asacol and adding Rowasa.
Over the last three years I have had a flare each year with each one getting progressively worse. Last year's flare took Prednisone to get under control. Fortunately, the Prednisone acted quickly and I was able to wean off of it with in about 3 months. My doctor increased my Asacol to the max and added Hydrocortisone enimas for four months and then switched me to Canasa suppositories for the next year.
Earlier this year I started to get sick again. At Easter the blood started and I got into my GI as soon as I could. He switched me to Lialda, which didn't help me. I went in for my third colonoscopy in 10 years in May. I was put on Prednisone again. This time it didn't work. For the remainder of May I was running to the bathroom nearly 30-40 times a day and 10-15 times a night. I missed alot of work and was in constant contact with Mr. Doctor. He added the Hydrocotisone enemas back and that seemed to help some...until he tried to start weaning me off the Prednisone. As soon as I got to 20mg I was begining to go backwards again. By 17.5 mg I was bleeding daily and the frequency was back up to about 8-10 times a day. He took me back up to 30mg which is where I have been now since mid-July. Also, he referred me to a specialist at the University of Michigan.
My appointment was yesterday. They want me off the Prednisone, but in order to do this want to put me on Imuran which is a anti-rejection medication for transplant patients. Apparently it supresses the immune system. I understand there could be some serious side effects from the medication. I have to get blood tests done every two weeks for one month and once a month thereafter until they can determine I can handle the medication. I will have to get a flu shot this year. If I get a cold or sore throat or a fever over 100, I need to call the doctor and report it.
Does anyone have any experience with this medication? If so, what if any side effects did you encounter and how did you handle the medication?
If all goes well, I should be able to be off the Prednisone completely by the end of the year and the doctor did mention the possibility of being able to stop taking the Asocol in a year or so.