I've been taking Prednisone for the inflammation in my lungs for 5 months. How long can you be on this steroid?

I got pneumonia back in Nov. and I have COPD already, so it really put me down when I got sick. I have been on oxygen therapy, and they have changed my maintenance drugs for the COPD, which are working for me much better than the old ones, but as soon as I try to taper off the prednisone, I get down to 10 mg. and get tight and wheezy, and have trouble even walking across a room. I know steroids are bad, and side effects are awful too (I am puffy and gaining weight) but I just can't seem to get well enough to get off of them, and worry about long term problems. How long can you stay on this steroid?

14 Replies

  • Morning ... i.ve been on steroids since i was in my 20,s i am now 66 and on a maintence dose of 25 mgms ! I havent been any lower than 20 mgms for about 6/7 years ...but i,m still here ! Yes there are some bad side effects. Mine have effected my immune system. And have to have weekly infusions which i do at home myself. Another is osteoporosis. But i have been on them longer than off them so there you go ..everyone is different. Its early days for you. ..pneumonja really takes it out of you take your time you should improve . You can allways reduce your steroids by 1 mg insfead of the usual5mgms. The slower the better but discuss with your doc or resp team first .good luck hope things should get bit better. I allways say say well im still upwright. .....which is good. Even tho its a bugged. !!! Sue.

  • Thank you sue48, I'm glad to hear that it is a regular practice to stay on them if needed, I am still better with them than without for the time being, and I have made improvement, so I guess patience is the key. I appreciate your reply, I feel a bit better about it now.

  • Hi ilk, I too am 66 and I have been on steroids since I was 22. I am only on a permanent maintenance dose of 5mg but this changes when I am really unwell. Yes they can have horrendous side effects but the plain fact is I would have been confined to a wheelchair may years ago without them. As Sue said dcecreasing them by 1mg is a safe optiom. M x

  • Well, when it comes down to it, I'll stay on the steroids since they seem to be the lesser of the evils when it comes to the side effects. I was just unsure of the amount of time one could use them because every time I asked why I am still having problems tapering off, my Doctor would start with a new drug or treatment and tell me I should stay on them a bit longer. If I need them, then so be it. I feel better with them...for now. Thanks for answering!

  • Oh my, I hope you are well now! I will stay on them as long as I need them but hopefully I'm just being impatient, and this will clear up eventually.

  • Im on it as maintenance of 2mg but can up to 5mg if need. When i have infections im on 30mg with different antibiotics. Ive been on them on and off like this for the last 5/6 yrs. My daughter however is on 30mg every day since she was 11 shes now 23 the dr s are trying her on injection steroid too which is helping. Side effects arent good but niether is struggling to breathe every day!! Thats how i look at it x

  • Tiger would it be rude to ask why your daughter is on Steroids? She seems so young

    I do hope you are both well

    Love Sohara

  • She has severe uncotrolled asthma . She had it mild as a young child but when age 11 it went out of control due to the high levels of steroids used previously she has curveture of spine and gets lots pain in legs if walks further than she should. Her peak flows used to drop to below 90 without any warning resulting in her being blue lighted to hospital on many occasions. Thankfully she is in a well peroid at present (dr thinks brought on by having being pregnant and extra hormones etc!?) But we dont know for sure. Doesnt help that shes allergic to almost evrrything!! Shes has early osteoperosis but has regular scans and is on meds for this . Luckily little granddaughter is healthy xxxx

  • Tiger I am so sorry to hear this news of your daughter. But how wonderful that she has had a baby :) :) I am sure her doctor has thought of putting her on some extra hormones by mouth ( They do help the osteoporosis too) but Its worth asking

    Hopefully she will grow out of the Asthma I know some lucky people do grow out of it as they get older

    Love Sohara

  • Thank you x

  • Looks like I sent my reply to the wrong person.

    I have seen some miracle "cures" with the Buteko Method of Breathing for asthma sufferers. It works spectacularly well as long as the person keeps up the exercises. It would be well worth looking Into for your daughter, of you are interested.


  • Pete has been on pred for 23 years now and has 10mg per day which he ups to around 30mg if he has a chest infection. He cannot be without his steroids and is fine on 10mg. Hope that helps. Take care. xxxx

  • I thank you all for your help and quick responses. I have been lucky so far in my life to not have had such a severe attack until now, so I am learning as I go with what they can do for me. It was very reassuring to know this is a regular practice (to be on steroids for long term) and I'm very grateful for finding this website with all you marvelous people to help me out!

  • I have seen some miracle 'cures' with the Buteko Method of Breathing for the treatment of asthma. It works spectacularly well as long as the person keeps up the exercises. Well worth looking into for your daughter.


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