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Steroid "challenge"

I am still in the process of being diagnosed and last week my Rheumatologist gave me a shot of steroids as a kind of challenge to see how I reacted to them.

My question is: Did the steroid challenge work straight away for you and for how long?

I woke up the morning after feeling like Mr Tickle and like my joints were made of jelly. It was amazing as I had almost forgotten what it was not to feel every individual joint. However, I fell back asleep for several hours and woke up much the same as I did before the injection. I then proceeded to have several days of sweating, fatigue, and aching more than "normal" as well as feeling sick. Now after around three days of this I think I feel better (or just better than those three days). I still ache and have red knuckles but its now mainly in my fingers than the other parts that were effected.

5 Replies

Hello :) Yes,when I was diagnosed over 2 years ago, I got an injection and felt 100% better by the next day! I could actually see my ankles and wrists for the first time in months as the swelling went down and was able to walk and everything. It was amazing! Some of my fingers were still swollen and stiff though. The first injection lasted for about a month, the following injections didn't last quite so long.

My rheumy said the way I reacted to the steroids, further 'proved' my RA diagnosis. I have sero-negative RA and my inflammation markers were always very high. Before Simponi, only the steroids would bring them down.

I've always experienced night sweating after steroid injections as well as restlessless, euphoria and mood swings.

Hope this helps! Best, Christine x


Thanks Skinny,

My Rheumy didn't really explain what we were looking for in terms of how I should (or shouldn't feel) after the injection. It's making me really mixed in my emotions. On one hand I think, yay I'm cured! then I think, but I still ache so do I not have it. Then I think have I improved at all and in which case do I not have RA? All a bit of a rollercoaster at the moment. I rung the doctor at my worst point after the injection and they asked to see me next week but now I feel better (than I did) so is the steroid working?. Going to keep the appointment and see what he says!


Hello again :) I think your reaction to the steroid injection will give you rheumy some clue as to what exactly is going on. So you don't 'have to' feel in a particular way but the reaction will probably help him make a diagnosis.

I have reacted well to the steroids but I know of people who didn't tolerate them well or where the effect didn't last very long so I think there are many ways people react to them so don't worry! It might be that it's taking a bit longer to work, they always told me it takes about two days at least to kick in but I always responded to it superfast, so again I think there are no set 'rules' as to how fast and how well it works. I am glad you're going to see the doctor next week. He really should give you more infomation and explain things properly to you!

I hope yu get a clear diagnosis soon and that the steroids will still give you some relief!!

Best, Christine x


What do you come up with if you think in terms of function? Are there any types of movement or any tasks that were difficult / uncomfortable / painful before the injection but easier now? Of course this way of looking at things works best if you had definite difficulty doing some things beforehand, but if it is possible to think like this it might make things clearer in your own mind plus it'll be simple getting any improvement across to your rheumy.


A steroid injection is never a quick fix for me - a day or so of steroid flare first, then a kind of gentle improvement, that does actually make me feel a whole lot better, though not a dramatic change. For me, oral steroids at 20 mg a day for a full two weeks give me a really dramatic improvement, but the steroid injection lasts a lot longer.


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