Tapering Prednisone~Can the pills be cut in half ?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 155
   Posted 10/6/2010 6:21 AM (GMT -7)   
I see that some people taper their prednisone by 5mg or sometimes by 2.5 mg.  Are they cutting their pills (10mg) in half or fourths ?
Considering tapering daughter off slowly. Very slowly.  Can we cut the 10mg prednisone pills ?
Also, at what point do you begin to taper off?  When there is no blood ? When the stools are more formed ? When the BMs per day fall below 5 ?
Any advice or ideas with tapering would be much appreciated !

19 yo daughter diagnosed with UC
Meds ~ Lialda 4 pills a day ~ Prednisone 40mg
Probiotics...Allign, Florasmart Advanced Probiotic &Dr. Ohhira Probiotics 12 plus OMX
Fiber ~Psyllium powder .currently 1/2 tspn.
Natrol~liquid iron 4 tspn a day
Protonix 40mg
Oscal 1 pill a day
Omega 3 2 pills a day
Spinach/sunflower seed diet
Trying Gluten Free diet

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 237
   Posted 10/6/2010 6:24 AM (GMT -7)   
tapering very slowly can reduce the withdrawl symptoms and lessen the likelyhood of relapse into flare. the pills can be cut or broken.
Veronica, mom of chris age 5
symptoms started shortly after birth
dx at age 2 with moderate colitis
scoped again at age 5 upgraded to severe pancolitis
flares every 8 months or so
current meds:
pentasa (5-asa)
azathioprine (imuran)
childrens multivitamin
fish oil
limited diet

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 15235
   Posted 10/6/2010 7:32 AM (GMT -7)   
I have 10mg, 5mg and 1mg. I break pills if necessary.
March 2007: Diagnosed with Mild Proctitis - Canasa as needed.
August 2008 - December 2008: FLARE & Anemic - Started Asacol!!
January 2009 - December 2009: REMISSION!! Asacol (9) + Canasa 2x Daily
December 2009 - January 2010: FLARE!! Asacol + Prednisone + Canasa
February 2010 - April 2010: Colazal + Prednisone + Canasa
May 2010 - June 2010: Lialda + Cort Enema + Prednisone : Colonoscopy: Mild / Moderate Active Pancolitis
CURRENT: DOING OK! Prednisone, 6mp, klonopin, Canasa + Vitamin D

UC Momma
Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 113
   Posted 10/6/2010 9:18 AM (GMT -7)   
Work with your doctor on what tapering schedule they think would work best. Yes, you can break the pills up.
I was diagnosed with left-sided UC in 2007, exactly a year after my first child was born.
I am currently pregnant and on 5 Asacol HD/day, 10mg of prednisone and tapering SUCCESSFULLY!, prenatal.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 914
   Posted 10/6/2010 9:42 AM (GMT -7)   
Any pharmacy should have pill cutters. They work great. I always ask for 5 mg tabs from the doc to make chopping up the pills easier.

Frustrated with UC
New Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 10/6/2010 9:58 AM (GMT -7)   
I jsut saw my GI specialist yesterday, and she has recommended cutting pills in half and going to 2.5mg doses, until we start either a new investigative study, or go on Cimzia or Humira. So yes, cut in half or Qrts, whichever you feel is right for your daughter. I feel for you. She is way to young to struggle with this terrible disease.

OK, Question, I've struggled with UC for over 8 years, I'm 47, and frustrated. One GI says, lets just go for the Surgery, get you well, get you a J pouch, and life will resume to normal within 8 weeks! So I saw another GI yesterday, in Wisconsin, and she said NO do not have Surgery, not YET.. it will cause more surgerys- potentially, Ive had 4-5 to date, and way to much Delauded Morphine, after 8 day hospital stay 4 weeks ago. I now only weigh 135 lbs, and I would lose another 20 from the surgery, not good... that's a huge worry of Doctors with Surgery. I'm in tough spot, if I had all the money in the world, I could afford Cimzia or Humira, but I dont. This disease over the years has cost me 75k-100,000 in medical bills.

So I need help.. Cimzia or Humira, or Surgery, YOu guys are the real experts- Us the patients, I can help allot of you as well, after 8 years, but now I need your help. I also need lots of help from my insruance company - They told me they could cover the first 2 cimzia, at $3500 per injection, but when the new year arrives, I will have to pay my family deductiable of $7500, the 20%.
What is everyone finding? is this true, false, and what has been everyone's results. I know everyone is different. I reading all the posts and find the cost to be reasonable, or nothing.

Meds: 8 years
currently on pregnisone taper down to 4 pills of 5mg daily, so I have 4 weeks until, I flare again, or maybe 6-7, that's not much.
Imuran, Azathiaprine, Methotrexete, REmicaide- 2 years, 6mp, Cortisteriods, entorcourt, Asacol- Alergic, Azathiapriune, allergic, 6mp -Allergic- all caused Pancreatitis!! No fun. So, I have no choice but to take Humira, cimzia, or the new study- its call Vedliumab They are taking patients now. Cost nothing..

Thanks Young Johnnie

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 745
   Posted 10/6/2010 10:28 AM (GMT -7)   
I break mine with my fingers. I'm currently on 2.5 mg every other day (1/4 of a 10 mg pill). My GI said that at this level it really doesn't matter if it's exact. Also, using pill cutters is an art that I have never mastered. My fingers end up being more exact than the results I get with a pill cutter.

How I know how quickly to taper is based both on my conversations with my doctor and on the results that I have when tapering, as reported to my doctor. My experience is that every time I lower the dose, I get bleeding again and it takes a few days for my body to adjust. When I first started tapering, I would increase the dose again when I saw blood, but I finally just got fed up and stopped doing that, and that's how I found out that my body will adjust itself.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 155
   Posted 10/6/2010 10:56 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks everyone for your replies.

Frustrated with UC, you should re-post your question in a new thread so that it'll get seen by more people. Hopefully you'll get the answers you need !
19 yo daughter diagnosed with UC
Meds ~ Lialda 4 a day ~ Prednisone 40mg
Probiotics..Allign, Florasmart Advanced Probiotic &Dr. Ohhira 12 plus OMX &VSL#3
Fiber ~Psyllium powder 1 tspn.
Natrol~liquid iron 4 tspn (2x a day)
Protonix 40mg
Oscal 1 pill a day
Omega 3 2 pills a day
Spinach/sunflower seed diet
Trying Gluten Free die

Old Hat
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 5133
   Posted 10/6/2010 6:22 PM (GMT -7)   
I used to cut my pills, when necessary, with a small sharp knife, but found that they splintered-- so it helped to cut on a dark surface in order to catch all tiny fragments. Better yet-- get some 5 mg. tablets from the pharmacy. My gastro gave me very precise instructions on tapering 'til I got down to 5 mg. daily (from 40 mg. start). There were days when I felt a need for 2.5 mg. during the 1st couple of months following 5 mg. dosing. (Kind of like putting a new bandaid on a scab that reopened a bit.) During that time I was also transitioning onto an oral 5-ASA med that ultimately proved adequate for achieving remission. It's important to get plenty of rest as one decreases the steroid, to help the body readjust-- also to keep well-hydrated. / Old Hat (30 yrs with left-sided UC ; presently in remission taking brandname Colazal)
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