how long do u need to be on steroids before it becomes an issue?

got put on a 5 day course mid may, to finish them, to get put on another course the day after they'd finished, to finish that course, to be off steroids for a few days, to get put on a 26 day tapered course, to get put back on another tapered course. how long do u need to be on them before there's risk of dependency or whatever? slightly worried about how many/how long ive been on them.

5 Replies

  • I have had pred on and off in short courses since my teenage years now not far off 40 and taking daily maintence dose of pred plus extra when needed... my asthma has become steroid dependent... As far as I can see (I am just guessing) steroid dependency depends on you as an individual and how your asthma behaves I do not think there is a definitive answer (please feel free to correct me if I am wrong...).

  • I my experience it takes a while, my Sister was on prednislone (not for asthma) for 4 months and wasnt dependent on them. I wasnt steriod dependednt until about 18 months of on off steriods with only one 2 days off. And since you are tapered course it tend not to be a problem. But I think it is dependent, but since do get some days off them is a good sign! I would avoid long term use though!

  • I've been on prednisolone a lot (more on than off!) for the last 14 years or so, and wouldn't say that I am dependent on them, as I am able to come off them some of the time, though not recently.

    As you know, there are lots of other problems associated with long-term steroid use, and if you're not alreading monitoring/taking treatment, it might be worth discussing this with your GP or consultant:

    Bone density: A DEXA scan will give you an idea of your current bone density. There are lots of medications available, from calcium/vitamin-D supplements to bisphosphonates, which are more active in preventing bone loss, but have their own side-effects.

    Weight gain: If this is a problem for you, your GP can refer you to a dietitian, who will be able to support you with weight loss ideas. It's much easier to deal with weight gain before it gets out of control and you have a lot of weight to lose!

    Blood glucose: Some people just have their blood sugars checked randomly when they go to their GP surgery to keep an eye on it and make sure it's not increasing. If you've had raised blood sugars before, your team might ask you to monitor more closely, or start you on treatment.

    Acid reflux: Some people get this as a result of steroid use, and it can be exacerbated if you're using lots of salbutamol or terbutaline, which relax smooth muscle. If you get acid reflux, it can contribute to more problems with your asthma, so it's worth getting it treated.

    These are just a few things. All of them will affect people differently (or not at all!); some of them take a long time to develop and others can develop relatively quickly.

    I hope that you can get off the 'roids soon and keep the asthma under control without them!

  • I'm sure there will be lots of different answers to this question, but I thought I'd let you know my experiences.

    I was put on Prednisolone 20 years ago for ABPA (an asthma related condition). I was on a controlling dose for about ten years (every day!) and my asthma was very well controlled- so much so that I came off them but only for a few months.

    After going back to a daily dose of around 15mgs I 'eased' off them over a period of years until last summer, when I stopped taking them altogether. I had a 'pred honeymoon' for around six months but became ill with chest infections and sinusitis- so I'm now back on 20mgs with the hope that this will be reduced over a period of time.

    I, like a lot of asthmatics, am between a rock and a hard place. If I don't take them I become ill eventually (so, yes, I suppose I'm dependent on them) and if I do take them I gain weight, bruise more easily (my skin is becoming very thin and I'm only in my fifties) and now have bone density issues.

    Although prednisolone is a very effective drug the side effects can impact on your life in a serious way. Having said that I am still in full-time work and lead a reasonably active life- which I wouldn't if I wasn't taking them- so one has to weigh up the pros and cons. Also my asthma is so well controlled I have never been admitted to hospital with it, or needed a reliever inhaler for 20 years- so there have been benefits.

    I wish you good luck with your treatment and hope this has helped!

  • If you are concerned you could ask the GP and ask about calcium tablets. which I now having as been on two lots of high dose prednisolone (steroid) since december for an unrelated asthma condition. (low platelet count). I was on 60mg for 2 weeks and it gets tapered and now on 10mg till the 4th July and be tapered to a stop. (until next time)

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