Pred - do the side effects worry anyone else?

I've been given 20mg pred to take for 5 days. I know it is a low dose and the course is a short course. I've had them before and taken them without thinking really.

But I've just been reading the list of side effects on the NHS website, and some of them are not side effects, they are more like serious consequences of taking something that can permanently affect your health. Does this worry anyone else? I can't find anywhere where there is information about the frequency of these effects or what other factors are involved.

I know prednisolone has made me anxious in the past and affected my sleep, even at a 20mg dose (I get given this because I am quite small).

Does it worry anyone else?

28 Replies

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  • it never used to, when I only needed short courses and low doses like you are on now. It worked so well to settle my exacerbations and I didn't really notice that much in terms of side effects. They were the magic little red smarties that came to my rescue every time i had a chest infection.

    However now its different. With time (15yrs) my body has become quite steroid dependent in terms that when I need to take pred I can't stop it quickly and because my exacerbations are much more serious now I need to take it at higher doses and for longer before I can even think about reducing doseage. Since November I have spent the majority of my time on some doseage of pred. At the moment I am on around 20mg a day as I reduce down from 40mg to 0mg, by reducing 1mg each day. This is my 4th course of steroids in 12 months- a relatively small exacerbation compared to my last one in December, but it took 2 weeks of 40mg pred to settle things and then will have taken 40 days to get off them entirely again, So just because things got a bit wobbly with my chest & being on max inhalers etc pred was the only thing they could add in to help and has resulted in me taking pred for another 2 months in total! It's a long time and a long time for the side effects to be carrying on.

    It has done really horrible things to me. But where would I be without it? back in hospital! for now it is a necessary evil that cannot be avoided and I just have to put up with the side effects, and i am very pleased that my specialists are experimenting with other drugs to try and get me settled so that i don't need any more pred for a long time to come, just as soon as i get off it.

    I guess part of me wishes that i had realised the down sides of steroids earlier. I am not sure it really would have changed things much, but i really wasn't aware of the side effects and withdrawal effects for a long time and hailed them as a bit of a miracle pill. Now i wish i hadn't needed them quite so much, that my asthma had been better managed to prevent getting to that stage, and so that my body wouldn't have gotten used to/hooked on them so badly. But that is the joy of hindsight!!!

    My only real advice is if you need them you need them, it can't be helped, but always keep in the back of your mind that they are a powerful drug with the potential for powerful side effects. Awareness really, which it sounds like you now have :)

  • Hi emc

    Unfortunately for us asthmatics pred is a life saving drug but on the other hand it can be quite horrible to is also. I'm 25yrs old and already have brittle bones weight gain and mood problems.i do wish ther was something else out ther to help us but this drug is extremely powerful and has saved my life in many occasions so for that reason I'm thankful and will jus have to be grateful to it . :-)

  • Ive had probs breathing, coughing and wheezing since october.

    ive had 4 lots of steroids (8 per day) 4 lots of antibiotics and various nasal sprays and anti histamines.

    During this time, ive broken 2 fingers and before those, my thumb.

    Im concerned that at my age that the predisnolone was affecting my bones.

    The gp said the next step up in treatment to get me off steroids, that werent working! Was monteleukast.

    But im certain that one of the steroid side effects affecting bones is more common than we think or are informed

  • Hi all i am worried about the side affects i have been reading about, i have just been put on 5mgs x 3 after breakfast

    some of the affects sound awful but if we need them i suppose we have to take them lets hope none of us get serious affects. thinking of you allchristine

  • Ive been on pred continually for 16mths and am currently on 20mg - the lowest in that whole period. The side effects are horrible - Ive gained 4st in weight and recently had cough fractures in 2 ribs - but the side effects didnt begin until I'd been on the steroids for several months. And ultimately Im alive, which I definately wouldnt be without the drugs. If its only a short course and you only need a few a year, its very unlikely youll have any significant problems.

  • Ive been on pred continually for 16mths and am currently on 20mg - the lowest in that whole period. The side effects are horrible - Ive gained 4st in weight and recently had cough fractures in 2 ribs - but the side effects didnt begin until I'd been on the steroids for several months. And ultimately Im alive, which I definately wouldnt be without the drugs. If its only a short course and you only need a few a year, its very unlikely youll have any significant problems.

    Its about time we asthmatics questioned the systematic ""doling out"" of this terrible drug Prednislone The medical ""profession"" hand it out like some kind of miracle cure... It is not! It makes us bloat, gain weight .. suffer crippling depression and! it is NOT a miracle cure they seem to think it is

    I get very very very angry to hear the terrible trauma folks suffer at the side effects of this drug yet none of us speak about it

    Yes I can breath after 5 days of dosing up on this stuff but! after 5 days of dosing up Im ready to kill myself

    Its time we told our ""medical professionals"" to get of their arses and find a better alternative

  • Its time we told our ""medical professionals"" to get of their arses and find a better alternative

    Alternatively, may I suggest a donation to or fundraising for Asthma UK so that they can continue their excellent work in supporting those with asthma and research into finding better medications and a cure.

  • Sparkly I'm sorry to read how much you've suffered with side effects. I hope you are ok. I feel bad grumbling about my minor side effects after reading your experiences. I just hate how edgy they make me, and how poor my sleep is on them. My GP thought I wouldn't have those effects on 20mg but I do.

    I am grateful for Pred because I do think I would have had much worse experiences of asthma without it - it has kept me out of hospital. But I also think there needs to be more awareness about things like thinning of the bones as they are sometimes preventable side effects.

  • Hi

    I've been on pred for the past 20 years with doses varying from 60mg to 5mg.

    Yes I have now many side effects including osteoporosis, stomach problems, very hairy face (nice, but luckily it very white blonde) and a few other little niggles that I am sure down to my little red friend!!

    BUT, without them I would definitely not be here with my family, enjoying life as best as I can with the restriction of my asthma.

    There are side effects to every med you take but a short burst of pred will make you feel better/get asthma back under control (hopefully) so please do not worry too much :)

    Take care x

  • Hello

    Im 45 and been asthmatic all my life. I have got to a point where I point blank refuse to take Pred... the side effects are too awful!

    With nagging and nagging and nagging I have for the past 10 years convinced ny GP to prescribe antibiotics when Im feeling bad (two week courses) once or twice a year

    I have also nagged to have singulair (reduces allergy symptoms) I have been Pred free for 10 years now !!!!!

    I despise that GPs just hand out Pred at a drop of a hat

    Pred makes me suicidal!

    I have managed without it and got through bad times without it only because I am a hard faced nag and dont allow GPs to patronise me

  • I have managed without it and got through bad times without it only because I am a hard faced nag and dont allow GPs to patronise me

    Pred obviously doesn't suit you, but some of us would not have managed without being given/taking pred. I don't feel patronised when given pred. Doctors have given pred to me because of its benefits, but they've also worked pretty hard to minimise the amount that I use because of the side effects.

  • I have found most GPs I have had the misfortune to deal with, do not look at my 45 year history of asthma, my knowledge of my own symptoms, my own peak flow and when I know I am coming down with an infection............. they listen to my chest and start writing ""pred......"" at which point I have to jump in and explain that I would prefer to struggle with antibiotics first and upping inhaled first before slipping down the slope of Pred.... I have found singulair to be helpful.....

    I reinforce the point most GPs have no clue about how devastating pred can be and simply follow a ""guidelines flowchart of treatment""

    In my own experience i have 0% trust in my GP or asthma nurse and prefer to take guidance directly from the Thoracic society

  • Yes, I hate the side effects but I certainly dont feel patronised! My cons and I have spent a year trying to reduce the dose, having to start over whenever Ive had an exacerbation and in one case being in hosp on iv steroids 3wks because Id left it too long to increase. My GP is fab too seeing me weekly. Between the 3 of us we've managed to get me thr winter with just 3 lots of abx (had 13 last year) and Ive been out of hospital 6wks now - a record since May!

  • Yes, I hate the side effects but I certainly dont feel patronised! My cons and I have spent a year trying to reduce the dose, having to start over whenever Ive had an exacerbation and in one case being in hosp on iv steroids 3wks because Id left it too long to increase. My GP is fab too seeing me weekly. Between the 3 of us we've managed to get me thr winter with just 3 lots of abx (had 13 last year) and Ive been out of hospital 6wks now - a record since May!

    You have stated you have gained 4 stone in weight since being on Pred? 4stone is enough fat to be life limiting in itself! how can you possibly think the medical profession is looking after you? you can breath? great ! can you get out the house? do you have self esteem?

  • hi all preds for 5 days 5mgs x3 after breakfast nearly finished them how long does it take to work because at the moment i have

    not altered at all with my asthma,coughing,heavy breathing,wheezing nothing altered.

    another question does asthma aggrevaite diabetes as mine appears to have gone all over the place love to you all.

  • Is your blood glucose elevated? Pred can interfere with blood glucose and cause it to elevate whilst you are taking the steroids.

  • T hank you nursefurby yes yesterday they got as high as 29.9 this morning it was 10.5 before breakfast then it went to 14.5 then had a small cooked dinner side plate size as i have lost nearly 5st it then went up to 22.8 now at 7-30pm it is 22.5 it does not matter what i do it keeps going up.

    preds finish on tuesday but they do not seem to have done anything for me still wheezy, coughing, out of breathe slightest thing so hubby doing everything.

    thank you again destiny

  • No problem. Are you type one or two? If you are concerned, please do seek advice from your GP. Significant hyperglycaemia isn't good for you, and whilst Im certain it is the steroid causing it, its still worth having the conversation with your GP. Hopefully you will start feeling some benefit from them soon, they take a while to work for me too x

  • Thank you once again I am type 2 meteorformin sr 1000mg xtwice a day morning and night.

    Then 40mgs glial azide 1 with breakfast now 8-15pm 21 slowly coming back down destiny

  • Do you have any tact? People don't come here for a lecture, they are adults. And for what its worth, pred alone does not cause weight gain. I have been on high doses for six months continuously and not gained any extra weight simply because my calorie intake has remained the same. Its the increased hunger it causes which people struggle with, and thus eating more. Your post isn't even aimed at me yet I find your tone inflammatory and offensive.

  • Do you have any tact? People don't come here for a lecture, they are adults. And for what its worth, pred alone does not cause weight gain. I have been on high doses for six months continuously and not gained any extra weight simply because my calorie intake has remained the same. Its the increased hunger it causes which people struggle with, and thus eating more. Your post isn't even aimed at me yet I find your tone inflammatory and offensive.

    Sorry I didnt mean to be offensive or to hurt anybody but as I am going through yet another flare up I am very very angry at the so called professionals I have to deal with.....

    I am sick and tired of being fobbed off with sterioids I try to tell ""them"" what I am going through and how I feel I have infection not just swelling, I try and try again to tell ""them"" the crippling side effects of ""pred"" ""they smile and write on their pad ... yup ""pred"" I am poorley at mo and fighting my corner so I apologise for sounding combative but this is how I am at the moment..fighting the idiotic medical ""profession"" is stressful

  • I wouldn't have been able to hold down a job if it wasn't for several short courses of pred each year. And my asthma would be far worse than it is now. THEN I would have been stressed and depressed!

    We all have the option to decline medication from doctors and most GP's respect our individual opinions and respect it is our bodies. I don't think it is then our place to judge others who cope with life threatening attacks on a regular basis for choosing to take that medication.

    All medication has side effects and we all have to balance those with the benefits. It isn't the fault of the medical profession that no better medication is out there for a flare up that does not respond to anything else. Pred SAVES lives!

  • Steroids reduce inflammation that sometimes inhalers arent enough, if its asthma alone antibiotics wont help unless active infection. You Should be trying to stop people taking steroids by scaring them yes they do have side effects, but there are great benefits.

    I am one that has been on steroids for a number of years and they have saved my life. Wthout them I would be housebound and despite putting on weight (I have depression and so wasn't great at willpower) I am not so fat as I cant get out and I can still care for myslef (Like you imply that fat people cant) I have learnt to accept these side effects and changes its made.

    Dont be put of taking steroids and going against your doctor, a short course wont cause to many problems and once they have been stopped so will the side effects

  • Hmm Reen, what you're saying is a little offensive and inflammatory as others have said. I dislike the side effects of pred, but that's okay; I take adcal and alendronic acid to prevent any bone thinning, omeprazole to prevent stomach issues and try to eat really healthy and ignore feeling more hungry.

    I never get to my maintenance without having a flare, which if I dont put it up quickly I end up having an admission, usually to HDU (occasionally ITU) where I end up having IV steroids anyway as well as a ton of other stuff. I'm on lots of meds, and they all do a job and all have side effects, but to be fair I'd rather that and be alive than dead as I would be without!!

    I just hope that no one else reading this gets any silly ideas that they shouldn't take pred when necessary. - it's literally a life saver. Also antibiotics ONLY work if it's a bacterial infection not viral which most colds etc are, pred helps with the inflammation, the abx don't.

  • I'm currently dependent on pred too but have had mixed reactions from medics. I've been on it since September continuously and a lot of 'short' courses in the year before that and now I don't seem to be able to come off it - get to 20 or 15 and have an attack and admission, then it's put up and told to reduce more slowly.

    NOT happy with the side effects (I've found I gain a bit of weight now which I didn't before being dependent, even though my appetite oddly enough goes on higher doses. but also kind of swell up ugh so now some clothes don't fit. and ugghh the mood swings) but at the moment I do find that the higher doses help me to function and hold down a job which is very difficult on lower doses as the asthma flares so much and plays havoc with sleep, energy etc.

    My GP like me is keen for me to be off them but also realistic, sympathetic and recognises the issues, and so generally are the drs I see in hospital. However, my own cons and one or two others have decided to lecture me every time I see them about how bad it is for me and how the side effects are awful (really? I had no idea, I'm not feeling them obviously. am not an adult and have no brain to read about this stuff - I just take them for fun clearly). One even told me that it would 'kill me prematurely' which was a lovely thing to hear on a sunny Sunday morning that I was spending in hospital instead of out on a picnic, after trying to reduce again. They say this because I have rather odd asthma and attacks are generally not *that* bad but it would appear quality of life, holding down a job etc don't feature in their calculations at all so despite what my cons says, I don't feel like I have a 'choice' to be on them.

    I would LOVE to find an alternative and get off the stuff (ok, some of this for rather shallow reasons lol - I do want to wear my favourite clothes again esp as it gets expensive shopping for replacements) but I have mainly found doctors more sympathetic than otherwise to the pred conundrum and aware that I am aware of the issues. The issue I personally have is when we are treated as though we are incapable of risk-benefit analysis. As many have said, it's a literal lifesaver for them and while I don't think I'd be dead without it I'd not have much of a life so I'll take it for now.

  • EmC - sorry for your troubles. I hope you are feeling a bit better at this point and will find a way to have fewer pred doses, especially given the side effects for you.

    I've been on pred for all but 4-5 days in the last 15 months. I've been very fortunate in avoiding most of the uncomfortable side effects - I've only gained a small amount of weight and my face is much rounder, but my emotions are stable. But many side effects are asymptomatic and can only be discovered with tests. In my case, recently a blood test that monitors average glucose levels over the last 3 months came out a little high (a1c was 6.1), so at this point I'm considered ""pre-diabetic"". and since I'm not likely to get off pred anytime soon, this is a concern. Also my bones are as dence as they ought to be, so that is also a concern - although whether that is due to pred or genetics, no one knows.

    In the last year, every time we try to get the pred does down to a very low level , my asthma becomes much worse. For example, my last pulmo visit resulted in an FEV1 that was 40% of my best and 50% of predicted value, which apparently concerned my pulmo enough to have me temporarily increase pred again back to 40mg. (I am hoping to go back down to 15mg on Thurday).

    If you do happen to be on pred for a very long time or on frequent bursts, your GP should be monitoring you for the various side effects that sometimes develop: osteoporeiss (bones), glacoma 9eye), diabetes, and cholesterol I think are the major ones that can happen without experiencable symptoms. For diabetes, it is important to monitor a1c and not just flasting gloucose - the kind of diabetes that shows up with prednisone doesn't always affect fasting glucose - my fasting glucose is terrific ( < 80 ), but my GP is still being very cautious.

    Reen - I agree that it is important to be proactive and I'm sorry you've had such problems with GP's. My experience is very different - my GP is very cautious about prednisone and very throurough about monitoring side effects. My pulmo is also very reluctant to increase prednisone, and if anything waits until too late. It sounds like you eventually found your voice and were able to advocate for what was right for you. I hope eventually you also encounter doctors that are more supportive without you having to fight so hard. Being sick is stressful enough. One oughtn't need to ""do battle"" with the medical system on top of it!

  • You know, I only started this thread to ask a question, I didn't intend for it to become like this.

    I think pred has been really helpful for me as it is for many people. I would never not take it if I needed it.

    I am just an emotional person anyway and pred exacerbates that.

    But I am extremely grateful to the medical profession for looking after me, and all those who have asthma much worse that mine has been.

  • I have been on pred permanently for well over 15 years now, varying doses from 40mg down to 10mg... occasionally 7.5mg.

    Currently down to 12.5mg as of today....

    If it wasn't for pred, I would not be here.. it is that simple.

    Yes, I have side effects, osteoporosis, bit of weight gain, but most of all muscle weakness and tendency to tear tendons.... oh and combined with PMT.... npt good!

    I live with these side effects which is better than no steroids....

    I am a brittle asthmatic so have symptoms every day. Pred controls it a bit.

    Also now steroid dependent....

    Kate

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