Prednisone Steriod Pills

Hi,

This is my first post on here. After a lifetime of mild asthma, which I've not had any treatment for, my symptoms have flared up really badly over the last few weeks. I've tried inhalers and they've had no effect, so the doctor has put me on a 10 day course of Perdnisone Pills.

I started taking them yesterday and last night I had a bout of insominia, which is not normal for me, I checked the (lengthy) list of side effects on the info leaflet but couldn't see anything about lack of sleep, so I'm not sure if that's related. Having searched the internet for more information though I've come across an alarming array of stories from people who've taken this medicine and suffered side-effects which sound absolutely horrific - from women growing beards, to people developing humps in their backs, to psychosis!

Obviously this is very worrying, but on the other hand, it seems unlikely that the doctor would prescribe this medicine if these reactions weren't very unusual.

I know everyone's different but it would reassuring to hear about what I could typically expect from a 10 day course of this medicine.

I haven't noticed any improvements yet, but it is only the second day of taking them - does anyone know how long it usually takes for it start taking effect?

Thanks in advance.

Julia

17 Replies

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  • Heya

    That is totally normal, I have been on a weeks course then I was on a 3 week course. Try taking them with your breakfast and it will be easier to sleep. Also make sure they ween you off of them and you don't just suddenly come off them, they didn't ween me off them the first time and my body went in to shock, I couldn't see and my body started convolting, it doesn't happen to everyone but it is worth talking to your doctor about it.

    It takes a while before the steroids kick in, just bare with it.

    Hope you start feeling better soon

    xxx

  • Hi Rach, thanks for the reply.

    That's interesting, I noticed my vision was a bit blurred at work today, but thought it was just because I hadn't slept well. But I can live with that for 10 days so long as it doesn't get any worse.

    The doctor didn't say anything about weaning off the pills, so I will speak to him about. I've seen two GPs about it so far, and neither seemed very clued-up on asthma. I think I might insist on getting reffered to a specialist - but I guess it could take a while to get an appointment on the NHS.

    Apart from the difficulties when you came of the pills, did you find they helped your asthma a lot? Were your experiences with them positive on the whole?

    Julia

    x

  • running -julia,

    welcome xxx

    Pred can keep you a wake and have unusual dreams and give you the munches,

    they will help with inflammation and kick in over a few hours.

    try a hot milky drink before bed or have a mp3 on soft music helps me,

    I always want fizzy stuff on pred.

    good luck and hope you get some sleep xxxxx

  • Thanks Glynis - nice to feel welcome!

    I took my first dose of the pills yesterday morning and the second with my breakfast today - no change yet I'm afraid. Hope they kick in tomorrow.

    Funnily enough, I've noticed that I'm less hungry than usual today, but that could be just a coincidence.

    I know loss of apetite can be a problem, but I think most ladies will understand if I say I'd rather have that than increased apetite!

    xx

  • running- julia.

    Have you been given antibiotics also as usualy do.

    Pred is ok short term usually 5 days but if on them longer after 3 weeks usualy

    have to come off them gradually over next few weeks xxx

  • Regarding side effects, most of them won't happen if you are on a short ten day course.

    Also, short courses can be stopped with little effects.

    Please don't worry about all the listed side effects! I have unfortunatly been on them for many years but no beard! The side effects usually only happen if you are on them permanently for more than three months plus.

    Yes, they can make you hyper and cause insomnia! ( Some kids will bounce off the walls!)

    Short doses are fairly safe and your dr wouldn't have prescribed them if they didn't think they were neccessary.

    Hope this helps!

    Kate

    PS Insomnia, Pop BBC world service on, read , relax and just try to ignore the fact that you are awake at silly o clock!

  • hi- great that you are actually getting some medical help cos its not a good idea to leave asthma incase a bad attack happens. regarding your post- i shouldnt admit this but i always feel great when im on preds as i have energy when i ususally have none, so i make the most of them. i have had to take loads over the last few years when ive been ill with my chest and i dont really get many side effects except wanting to eat and having more energy...every medication has some side effects for some people, its still best to take them to get 100% better x

  • Thanks everyone for the replies - I really appreciate the advice.

    Glynis - No antibiotics and my course is 10 days. Sounds like it's definitely worth tapering off them gradually, I'll do that.

    Kate Moss - Glad to hear about your smooth chin! I can well imagine kids bouncing off the walls, wasn't far off that myself yesterday. I'm a fan of Radio 4 and did tune into WS last night - you're right it does the trick! Might mean a few nights on the sofa though, don't think the OH will be keen on that on a regular basis.

    Jay39 - That's brilliant to hear, I came across so many negative stories while searching around the net, it didn't seem like anyone had a positive experience with them. I knew they must work for most people, or they wouldn't be prescribed, but you know how it is when you read all this scary stuff.

    I'm so glad I joined this forum.

    xx

  • Thanks everyone for the replies - I really appreciate the advice.

    Glynis - No antibiotics and my course is 10 days. Sounds like it's definitely worth tapering off them gradually, I'll do that.

    Kate Moss - Glad to hear about your smooth chin! I can well imagine kids bouncing off the walls, wasn't far off that myself yesterday. I'm a fan of Radio 4 and did tune into WS last night - you're right it does the trick! Might mean a few nights on the sofa though, don't think the OH will be keen on that on a regular basis.

    Jay39 - That's brilliant to hear, I came across so many negative stories while searching around the net, it didn't seem like anyone had a positive experience with them. I knew they must work for most people, or they wouldn't be prescribed, but you know how it is when you read all this scary stuff.

    I'm so glad I joined this forum.

    xx

  • Hi Julia,

    Unless you have been specifically told to taper off the steroids then you don't need to. A short course of oral steroids is usually stopped with no tapering at all. Ask the doc who prescribed for advice if you're not sure.

    I also get ""wired"" on steroids - am back on them at the moment due to a ghastly cold - surviving nicely on about 3 hours sleep a night at present!

    Take care

    Feejay

  • I'm just going to reiterate what Kate said. Side-effects of pred aren't unusual, including insomnia, but most of them occur after long-term use so you have little to worry about in this respect if you're only on a short course. It's unusual that you have reduced appetite as steroids usually increase appetite, but hey, make the most of it ;o) Yes, there are some potentially upsetting or serious side-effects, for example I developed cataracts and am now having them removed (one done, one to go), but I've been on long-term high-dose prednisolone (current dose 85mg!) for 13 years, so some side-effects are expected. Really, you have nothing to worry about in terms of side-effects at this stage of things, and your doctor wouldn't have prescribed pred if he didn't think any risk was justified. Prednisolone is an old drug and an extensively used drug. A lot is known about it and your doctors will be experienced in using/prescribing it. As Kate said, if you're on a short course there is rarely a need to taper the dose, although this is contrary to what used to be believed so some medics still prescribe a tapering course. Many/most don't these days.

  • hi julia,

    i agree with the others, i love the comment about the increased appetite, i have probs with that as i ended up on pred for 3 weeks and it played havoc with my diet. As to weaning off the pred i think it depends who you see my gp told me to cut it down but the astma nurse said just stop them. Pred do have horrendous side effect but they tend to be from long term use, but they do work very well and quickly. The pred takes 3 days to work and should take your p/flows up to your personal best and then they should stay there for 2 days.

    regards

    sj

  • Thanks Freejay, BeckyG and Wolfspirit, that's all really helpful.

    Sorry to hear about the cataracts BeckyG, I hope your eyes will be OK again soon.

    I'm on the fourth day of the prednisolone - eight 5mg pills with breakfast each day - and I'm not seeing any improvement in my peak flow readings. I'm only getting a few hours sleep per night and am feeling kind of jittery on them, so it's not much fun. My course is for 10 days, but I'm considering stopping earlier if I don't see any improvement. The only slight difference has been that I can breath better through my nose.

    I know ideally I should speak to my doctor, but I'm away down in Dorset now, so I wouldn't be able to get an appointment till Tuesday at the earliest.

    Just wondering if it's normal for the medicine to take this long to take effect. I wonder if the fact that they haven't worked yet and I never saw improvement with the inhalers means asthma isn't the problem at all.

    I had lots of tests yesterday - an ECG, which was fine and several blood tests, which I have to wait to get the results of. I also had a chest xray, all they would tell me at the hospital was that there was nothing urgently wrong, but they seemed to indicate that it looked fine.

    Obviously I didn't want them to find anything on the ECG or xray, but I'm starting to wonder whatever could be causing my breathless, coughing and chest pains.

    I'm a long distance runner (just recreational) and I'm really missing being able to run.

  • Prednisolone normally kicks is very quickly (around 8 hours) and 40mg is a dose which should sort you out. Whatever you do don't just stop the course as this can cause a relapse (even if you don't think there's been an improvement), if you can't get to your GP I'd ring the asthma UK nurses who are amazing on 08001216244 or NHS direct on 08454647 though their service is very variable.

    Sorry things aren't sorting themselves out.

    Annie x

  • Hi Julia,

    Sorry to hear that things are going too well. Whenever I take steroids (and I'm on them again now), they normally take 3-4 days to work. 8 days does seem excessive, but everyone is different. You said you have a cough and chest pain - is your cough productive, producing green/brown sputum? Maybe you have a chest infection? Were you given antibiotics too? Steroids won't shift any underlying infection, just the infammation. It's just a thought.

    Try not to worry too much, you've made the right decision to go back to the Doctors - really hope you feel better soon!

    Gareth

  • Thanks Anzharry, OK, I won't just stop. I haven't felt so jittery today anyway - who knows, I might even get a good night's sleep tonight!

    And thank you Luckystar. I've only been taking them for four days, it'd be great if they started working tomorrow. It does actually feel to me like a chest infection, although I haven't been bringing stuff up. I've told the doctor this every time I've seen him though and he just listens to my chest and says it's not an infection. So I guess it isn't.

  • Hi

    The insomnia is definitely related to the prednisolone. As far as response time it varies quite a bit from one person to another. I seem to take a long time to respond, but do in the end. You will find out in time what works for you.

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