British Lung Foundation
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Over use of steroids

Hi everyone, I don’t know what to do. I have been taking unprescribed prednislone for about 20 days as my recovery from flu had got me down. This was as well as the cortisteroid inhaler . I am 75 and still trying to work. On Saturday I was in the workshop was walking out when I had a collapse in my ankle which was similar to a sprain. I had a look in the web and it seems I have done in my Achilles’ tendon. I was frustrated because i hadn’t done anything unusual. Checked prednislone side effects and discovered that this is possible even with inhalers. To add to my troubles checked the pills and discovered that what I was taking were 10 mg even though I had ordered 5 mg. That meant that I had been taking over 60 mg per day instead of 30. My problem now is after 2 weeks can I stop and has anyone else had this situation, my doctor I refused to give me a pack with antibiotics and a 5 day course which other doctors give their patients and when I asked her why she said I had to be admitted to hospital at least twice for to fulfill the criteria required. Anyhow I have rambled on enough. Just wondering what to do about the tapering down. I am typing this on my I phone and also notice my vision a bit blurred. Wishing you all a happy new year

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A suggested tapering schedule is to:

Continue high-dose prednisolone 40–60 mg daily until symptoms have resolved (usually 4 weeks), then

Reduce the dose by 10 mg every 2 weeks until the person is taking 20 mg daily, then

Reduce the dose by 2.5 mg every 2–4 weeks until the person is taking 10 mg daily, then

Reduce the dose by 1 mg every 1–2 months, provided there is no relapse.

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Thanks for your advice Pete, I think I was lucky noticed that the tabs were twice the strength I had ever taken before. Was wondering why I couldn’t sleep. The other thing for what it’s worth is that I didn’t feel twice as good. In fact just felt not myself. Hope you are feeling well yourself. I think this illness depresses me sometimes!!

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Hi Crankshaft I would imagine if you have been taking such a high dose for 2 weeks it might be wise to taper down, have you had any side effects like your face swelling or anything. I've just been thinking I think I might have had a two week course when I was in hospital recently and didn't have to taper but it was 30mg. I not sure how to taper them someone else will hopefully be able to tell you how to do it correctly x

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When I came home from hospital recovering from a bad chest infection and excasabation, I was still very unwell so my doctor put me on prednesolone, that was 8 tabs, 5 mil per tab. After 5 days drop down to 7 tabs and so on . So this is tapering. Every 5th day cut one out. Being in hospital I was on antibiotics intravenous . I hope this helps you. ✋️😊

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No face swelling, but noticed that when I played with the dog my wrists and back of hands are covered in black bruises . Thanks for all the support everyone and it’s great to have friends to share these concerns with !!

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Hello Crankshaft .

When I tapered I had advice of the doctor . I can tell you the side effects of tapering for me were worse than when I started. Of course this does not happen to everyone. I just thought I'd let you know just in case you feel odd. I don't remember how much I tapered at the time, but I remember it being very, very gradual. Plus I never got totally off them. I still take them now at a low dose. I just was never well enough to go without.

I am so sorry you don't have the support of your doctor. Please keep us in the loop as to how you are doing. As for the ankle it sounds like you need to rest it well.

Sending best wishes.

Cas xx 🌻

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Thanks for your support. I will post how I get on in a few weeks and that may help some of you kind people who bothered to advise me. Thanks everyone 🙄

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🌹🌸🌷🌼🌻🌺

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I get these in my emergency pack 5mg if you are in the UK I have never heard of restricting them unless you have been in the hospital?i think they are trying to bluff you ,I know they dont like over use of steroids due to side affects but if you are ill and need them it doesn't seem right to not let you do a short course I have been ill myself over the last 3 weeks and decided to stay on mine a week longer I was on 8 5mg a day but am not down to 3 x5mg and will cut them all out this week I hope you feel better soon and please I would look into your doctors reasoning x

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Whilst steroids are essential sometimes they are not given out unless absolutely necessary as the lesser of 2 evils. There is a reason they call them the devils pills! I agree with the advice to taper them down slowly otherwise you risk awful withdrawal symptoms. x

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Crankshaft, I'm sorry to be blunt but it is extremely risky to be self-prescribing prednisolone, especially when you're so cavalier about how much you're actually taking. How did you get hold of them? These are potentially dangerous drugs, the reason being they take over the function of your adrenal glands in producing cortisol, and as a result the adrenals can simply wither and stop producing any cortisol at all. A sudden failure in your adrenal function is potentially FATAL as cortisol is essential to nearly all bodily functions - amongst other things, it regulates your blood pressure!

The reason for tapering is so your adrenals will continue cortisol production and not cease functioning. It's not necessary if you've been on a short course but 3weeks at 60mg is quite high.

Your GP presumably doesn't think you need prednisone. They are powerful anti-inflammatories and aren't appropriate just because you want to get over flu more quickly.

I've recently been on a fairly high dose of prescribed prednisone (50mg) for 10 days and the tapering schedule I followed (suggested by my GP) was:

30mg for 5 days

25mg for 2 days

20mg for 2 days

15mg for 2 days

10mg for 2 days

5mg for 2days

but you've been on 60mg for longer than this so quite honestly your safest bet is to see your GP, admit to the self-prescribing and ask his advice. Obviously he won't be pleased but it's your health at stake here

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Thanks Hanne, I know your advice is good and the fact is I would never consider self medicating if my doctor was a bit more reasonable. For instance a year ago I felt a bit bad and it was just before Christmas and I went to the surgery and lucky for me a locum was on . She prescribed me a 5 day course of steroids and antibiotics which I didn’t need until March but it was great that they were there and prevented me having a full blown 2 to 3 week suffering. My doctor seems to have a terrible fear of steroids but she is not the one suffering . Thank you so much for your opinion which is absolutely correct!!

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There are so many different tapering regimes - mine is nearer to Hanne's than Pete's. You should get advice Crankshaft. Also for the future I really wouldn't recommend getting meds off the net - you can't know exactly what you are getting. Also always read the patient leaflet. (And if there isn't one, that may mean the meds are counterfeit.)

Of course you don't need to be hospitalised before being allowed an emergency pack - what is your GP thinking? Call the BLF helpline (03000 030 555 office hours) and talk this through with them.

Glaucoma is one of the more serious side effects from prednisolone - if you've only taken it for a couple of weeks your blurry eyes are not likely to be that, but it's important to know that you can't mess about with oral steroids. Maybe you should see if you can change GPs - your practice manager will tell you if there is a GP in your surgery with a special interest in respiratory issues.

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Hi

I'm on steroids at the moment for an infection. Just about to start tapering off. My regime is and has been on previous occasions very similar to Hanne's method as recommended by my respiratory nurse Never had any problems coming off them so far.

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For me its 8 for 5 days

6 for 5days

4 for 5days

3for 5days

2f for 5day

1for five days

Mt husband had a different condition

8o for a month

70 for a month

reducing by 10 every month until the last month when he had to reduce daily.

Sorry can not agree with self prescribing Prednisolone more harm than good.

See your GP tell him what you have done take his advice.

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At the end of 2016 I had an appointment with a hospital respiratory nurse. After which she wrote a very nice letter to my GP suggesting I be put on a tapering for the steroids , if they agreed . I made an appointment which was with a GP I hadn't seen for treating me before and he was quite rude and ill mannered and said he thought that that the normal dose of 6x5mg x 7 days was the best way to take them but he said he would do as she said. The next time I ordered no prescription was sent electronically to the pharmacy. I phoned up and was told by a receptionist, after checking that my request had been declined.Shocked , I registers with a new GP elsewhere having been with that surgery for 55years.

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Prednisolone can be a devastating medicine and should never be messed with for sure. It really is a wonderful drug if used correctly, however, its major weakness in my opinion is that each and every one of our bodies reacts in it's unique way (every body is unique). For instance I have had to take 5 days x 30mg/day approx every 5/6 weeks. I have never used tapering and have never experienced any side effects what so ever. A friend of mine takes the same as me and has a terrible time in between and has had to use tapering. ????

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Hi.

Sorry to hear you are having such a rough time with steroids, I know most of the people on the forum have had to take steroids at some time, bu each of us are different so no one dose requiem is the same.

I used to be a senior nurse and would suggest you go to see your GP and explain what has happened so you can get the help you need to taper off.

Hope you feel well soon

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Hi Crankshaft, I was worried when I read your blog as you are using steroids without your doctors knowledge. The reason doctors will not prescribe prednisolone when you do not need them is simple they are bad for you. Before I was diagnosed with Bronch I was on prednisolone every month/six weeks due to pneumonia which kept recurring. They have left me with damaged bones and I am well on the way to having osteoporosis because of these steroids. Now I do not get them when I am ill (even though they are in my emergency medicine pack) the doctor always tries to get me better with antibiotics and only if my asthma is really bad will she prescribe steroids. Please taper them down and please think before you take any medication without it being prescribed for you. I presume you bought these steroids on the internet? Unfortunately you do not know what is in these tablets. Take care, Maximonkey

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Thank you Maxi, My problem was that the pills were 10mg instead of 5 mg which i usually get. My doctor does not have to suffer the distress that a flare up brings me. My usual use of these tabs is 30 mg for 5 days and that is what my previous doctor prescribed for me. This lady just has a serious problem when it comes to prescribing prednislone. I only needed them once or twice a year. If this lady had prescribed like my last one this would not have happened. Thank you very much for your concern and i know what you are advising is right.

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Take care Crankshaft, everyone on this site only wish to help each other. Thinking of you and I hope you find another doc who understands your condition. Bye Maximonkey

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i have not been admitted to hospital and you should be able to have steroids with antibiotics and you not supposed to take the steroids for that long as they mask illnesses aske to see someone who knows about copd i have a rescue pack at home i always have antibiotics and steroids and when i use one i ring up and get them replaced so you need to see somebody who knows what there talking about

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One last thought on prednisone. I have COPD and have been on 2 short courses over the last year and a half. Like one week or 10 days. I can't remember the dosage, although it was always tapered. The only thing I know is that they had absolutely no benefit for my breathing, and no side effects either. It was like I was taking sugar pills. Nothing, good or bad. Just nothing at all. It's been some time now that I've taken any. Mind you, I didn't have an infection or anything, just lousy breathing. I was so hoping they would help, but they didn't.

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