How fast can I taper from 40mg prednisone? I want to get off of it quick!!!!!

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 49
   Posted 10/3/2011 8:52 AM (GMT -7)   
I have been on 40mg for about 6 weeks now. Finally feel well enough to start my tapering. I started out with going down to 30mg for 5 days. Today I went down to 20.5mg and I plan on cutting back 5mg every 5 days or less.

Any experiences with cutting down 5mg every few days? I would like to be off of it asap...but also want to be safe. Do you think I could cut down 5mg every 3 or 4 days?

I know every person is different..and it's been so long since I have been on prednisone that I can't remember how I react. From cutting down to 30mg I have increased side effects of moon face, irritability, toe cramping, worse insomnia...basically everything as when I started the pred, but worse.

What is the fastest you cut down without going back into a flare?

Thank you!
33 yr old female
Left sided UC diagnosed at age 14.
Currently in a flare.

40mg prednisone
Remicade ever 6 weeks

I have been in remission since starting Remicade in 2005, but Remicade seems to not be working as well anymore....had to double my dose and start every 6 weeks. Now i'm in a flare and discussing Humira as the next option with my doctor. Fingers crossed!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2011
Total Posts : 604
   Posted 10/3/2011 9:01 AM (GMT -7)   
I would contact your doctor and see what he/she has to say. They may want you to start tapering, they may not. You definitely don't want to try tapering off prednisone without getting the OK from your doctor, as it can throw you into adrenal shock if you taper too quickly especially where you've been on it for so long.

I know it sucks being on prednisone but you just have to take it slow and as prescribed.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 3993
   Posted 10/3/2011 9:02 AM (GMT -7)   
When I did 40mg for 5 days,I did taper off 5mg every 3-4 days. But since you have been at the higher dose for 6 weeks, I would go slower. After my symptoms got worse after my 1st taper, I did a 2nd taper, but things started getting worse as I got down to 15mg, so I was advised to stay there until further notice. After about 6 months, we tried one taper of 0.25mg every 10 days. I got down to 10mg and had so many problems I had to jump back up to 20mg.

Now, after 6 more months, I am trying to taper down to 12.5mg but only but about .25mg every 3 weeks. Going real slow just seems better than having to begin again with a large dose. However, everyone is a bit different.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 2818
   Posted 10/3/2011 10:01 AM (GMT -7)   
I went through three tapers and the third one was really dragged out. If you are on 40 for 6 weeks, take the taper as slow as possible. Pred withdrawal has a lot of symptoms. It's best that your body doesn't notice the drops too much.
In remission (yippee!)--pancolitis since 8/09. Asacol 3200 mg. Canasa or Rowasa daily, Probiotic -RenewLife Ultimate Flora Critical Care, vitamins, calcium, l-acetyl carnitine. Limit dairy, red meat, citrus, sugar, no alcohol. Bipolar/anxiety/depression: lamictal 200 mg, Lexapro 10 mg; wellbutrin 150 mg, Sleep-(ZMA) zinc-magnesium-B6, occasional Zyprexa 2.5 mg.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2148
   Posted 10/3/2011 10:23 AM (GMT -7)   
the slower you can taper the better, if you taper too fast you can flare up again and then it was all for nothing. Def talk to your Doc, tapering every 3 to 5 days seems very fast to me.
UC Pancolitis: dx'd 2000; 5th Remicade 9/27/11.Kidney Disease (Minimal Change Disease): dx'd 2007 caused by 5ASA's (thank you sulfsalazine, lialda and asacol). Liver Disease (thank you prednisone and imuran!).Current meds: Remicade, Lipitor, Calcium + Vit D, Multi vit, Calcitriol & probiotics.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 914
   Posted 10/3/2011 11:18 AM (GMT -7)   
I agree with Beth, tapering too fast can put you at risk of flaring again which is counter productive because you have to increase your pred dose when that happens. I was always able to get down from 40 to 20 quickly, but slowed the taper after that, and then slowed things down even more when I got below 15. I would go from 20 to 17.5 for a week, then 15 for a week, then 12.5 for two weeks, and so on until I got down to 5, then I would stop pred completely after 2 weeks at 5 mg. Everyone is different however, but in general, tapering too fast will cause you to re-flare.
DX Pancolitis 2003. Subsequent flares limited to left side
Flare every 2-3 years.
Salofalk 12 tabs daily,
Probiotics: VSL#3DS. Fiber: Psyllium.
Allergic to Imuran
Tapering colocort (currently 1 every 3rd day)

Combo antibiotic therapy got me out of a year long flare and into full remission!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 1408
   Posted 10/3/2011 11:36 AM (GMT -7)   
rule of thumb = drop 5 mg per week

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 318
   Posted 10/3/2011 2:32 PM (GMT -7)   
I remember my GI at the time had me do a fast taper from 40 every 3-4 days down another 5 mg. I was on it for about 2 months a this point. I will tell you that I felt like crap for weeks. Good luck it is an evil drug.
UC 1996

5 asa, predisone, 6 mp

Dec 26, 2000, Emergency j-pouch surgery

Multiple complications, J-pouch redo- July 3, 2001.

Take down-Jan 3, 2002

Chronic pouchitis: cipro, pentassa, xifican, cortifoam, canassa, leviguin, lexapro

Gall bladder out-Oct 1997

April 2010 bad pouchitis flare-remicade (only 2 doses)

Aug 2010-adhesion surgery

Doing great! only canassa!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 3231
   Posted 10/3/2011 2:46 PM (GMT -7)   
I'd tapper as slowly as possible. It's more important to be able to get off of pred than how fast you can taper off of it.

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 71
   Posted 10/3/2011 4:50 PM (GMT -7)   
I've had to do a VERY slow taper. I went from 40 to 20 after 1 month. Then to 10 and stayed at 10 for quite some time. I dropped to 5, had a Doc visit and he told me to go back to 10 because I was having issues still. I stayed at 10 for another month, then to 5 for 2 weeks, then to 2.5 and I was ill again within 3 days. I went back to 5 for 2 weeks, then to 4 for a week, then 3 for a week, then 2 for a week, now at 1mg and doing fine. At this schedule, I will be off in just under 6 months.

Someone here said something about 1 mg tabs. I didn't know they existed. Makes a slow taper much easier than cutting up pills.

The worst thing I'm finding is that the lower the dose, the worse my joint pain is when I get up in the morning. I've read here that is common.

My best! Pred works, but is hard on the body.
Diagnosed: Pancolitis 4/11/11
Balsalazide 750 mg, 9 pills per day
Prednisone 1 mg

Have Taken:
Sulfazine EC 500 mg, 8 pills per day
Potassium CHL ER 10MEQ 2@2xdaily
Asacol 400mg

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 3009
   Posted 10/4/2011 7:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Adrenal shock twice from that. Each time you have to get back to a higher dose and come down slower. You can come down fast until 8mg which is the amount your glands are supposed to be producing. Never continue quickly from there, chop the pills and inch your way down slowly.
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