Thursday, July 29, 2010

The problem with prednisone

I have been on prednisone, at various dosages, since 2006. I've increased the dosage in a burst and taper with every flare I've ever had. Prednisone is the drug that works when nothing else will and it works very fast.

The effectiveness of prednisone is a wonderful thing, but it comes at a terrible price. It causes, among other things, osteoporosis, thinning skin and a risk of overwhelming infection. I've been diagnosed with severe osteoporosis. I've developed cellulitis after a minor cut and I have skin so thin on my forearms that the blood vessels break with barely a brush. So, I've been making a big effort to taper my dosage back to 5mg.

I've gotten down to 6mg and seem to be stuck there. I've felt every decrease, to be sure. Even when I went from 7.5mg to 7mg, I was stiffer and hurtier. It was worse, of course, when I dropped to 6 and when I dropped to 5, I went into a moderate flare of stiffness, pain, swollen, red joints, fatigue and the depression that comes with it.

Since I was definitely flaring, I decided to change my dose to an alternating 6mg and 5mg. I have gradually gotten worse, or maybe my narcotics aren't working as well as they were. I've done this for two weeks and have just decided to go back to 6mg for at least a month to see if I will adjust. I suppose if things get worse, I'll be calling my rheumatologist and will likely be put on a much higher dose than what I tapered from. Square -10.

I knew I was in for discomfort, but I did not think I'd have this much trouble. I'm hoping for better results when I try again. If I can't get down to 5mg, I'm afraid I'll have to add another DMARD or change to a biologic. I don't want to do either one.

If you've had RA for very long, I know you've been through this and can sympathize. If you've just been diagnosed, please keep my post in mind when you place that prednisone on your tongue. It is a quick fix for what ails us, but we just have to pay for it later. I'm not sure it is worth it.

No comments:

Post a Comment