Prednisone, how long is too long?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 95
   Posted 9/2/2008 10:01 PM (GMT -6)   
The title is pretty much self explanitory. I've only been on it for a short while compared with some of the members of this board. I'm making sure that I beef up my calcium intake to help prevent/offset and bone degredation. As it stands now i'm only on prednisone at 40mg a day, have to call the doc tomorrow and see if he wants me to go back on Lialda at a lower dose (within a day of taking it after going off I had flare like symptoms). But when do you start to worry about pred rotting your body from the inside out? 2 Months? 3 months? A year?  -> My blog
Diagnosed 7/27/08
Prednisone 40mg/Day- Tapering down currently.

Post Edited (Apetro) : 9/2/2008 9:04:11 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 149
   Posted 9/2/2008 10:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Oh I honestly couldnt tell you an exact date but an educated guess its def over a year. I been on and off prednisone for nearly 3 years and just had a bone density scan done early this year and everything looked good.  It may vary with age too, as i am young and still fairly resilent where someone older...I take the calcuim too here and there. I think bone loss is a long term effect.

26y old male med disharge veteran
Diagnosed with UC (lower proctitis) in 2004
Current daily treatment:
1000mg sup asacol
2400mg oral asacol
40mg prednisone
75mg azathioprine
20mg Nexum
Still 4-5 bloody, mucus bowel movents a day! Blah...

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 79
   Posted 9/2/2008 10:35 PM (GMT -6)   
After 3 months, I would recommend that everyone on prednisone get a DEXA bone density see if you already have osteoporosis or to establish your baseline and see if you need to take preventative measures to slow it down. It's easy, two x-rays. I got osteoporosis after a year of prednisone (at age 31), 7 months at 20 mg a day, and 5 months at 40 mg a day before I tapered off it on my own. After that, I had my colon removed just to get off that stuff and Asacol forever and to avoid any other degradation to my otherwise healthy organs. I also lost 2 inches of height, I use to be 6' 2", now I'm just 6'. That would be another sign that you may be getting osteoporosis.

My family doctor didn't like steroids and ordered the bone density test about 9 months into my steroid treatment, and my fired GI specialist and his aids acted "shocked" that I got osteoporosis that fast. After some research, I found it isn't that uncommon to lose up to 20% to 30% of your bone mass in the first 6 months of steroid treatment. Then that drop decreases. So be proactive and get a baseline DEXA scan if your taking prednisone for the long term (more than 3 to 6 months). I now have to take Actonel forever. But that's only 2 pills once a month. Thank God my family doctor caught this or I would still be losing bone mass and would probably only find out after breaking something. I'll be interested to see what my next bone density scan reveals next year.
Age 0 to 30 - 100% healthy, no meds, no doctor visits, no hospital stays
Oct. 2006 - Symptoms of UC began
3/5/2007 - Diagnosed with UC - Pancolitis (entire colon involved)
20mg-40mg/day Prednisone, 4.8 g/day Asacol - didn't work at all
10/12/2007 - Steroid Induced Osteoporosis from Prednisone and Anemic
add Actonel (75mgx2 pills/month) and daily iron pills
2/12/2008 - open Subtotal Colectomy with Temporary Ileostomy Surgery
8/05/2008 - Unexpected surgery to remove blockage caused by scar tissue
Jan. 2009 - J-Pouch Surgery and possible Ileo Reversal Surgery Scheduled
"When life gives you lemons...make lemonade"

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10407
   Posted 9/2/2008 10:58 PM (GMT -6)   
And don't rely too much on the bone density exam. Four months after mine came back normal, I had pathological fractures of both the bones in my lower left leg. To this day I don't know how or when it happened. I'd be leery of anything more than three months on Pred.
Judy - Southern US 
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Avascular necrosis in both shoulders is my "forever" gift from Entocort.
Colazal,  Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri. In remission since April, 2006.
Co-Moderator UC Forum
Please remember to consult your health care provider when making health-related decisions.

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