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Pred and Gallstones

Hi everyone...I must start and let you all know how informative your posts and replys are...very helpful. I have posted before about my horrible Pred side effects. Long story short..I have GCA and started at 60mg 11 months ago and now down to 15mg with 1 flare up along the way.. Right now I'm stuck on 15. Last night I suddenly got this awful feeling (not pains) in the middle of my chest, more like a tightening or pulling...so very painful I thought I was having a heart attack..Hard to breathe. stand. sit etc. Went to ER and after blood work, chest x-ray and urine analysis ...my gallbladder enzymes were elevated and urinary infection. I then had an ultra sound of the gallbladder and have 3 gallstones. While I was waiting for results I was on my phone checking "Prednisone and Gallbladder" and needless to say YES there is a connection. It says people that are on Pred 1-2 yrs can get gallbladder problems. It seems that I get every possible side effect. Have to go to my Dr tomorrow and find out what needs to be done...

My question to all of you...has anyone developed the same problems I now have with the Gallbladder/stones? Also can this issue and urinary infection cause my CRP to be a little elevated and for that reason stuck on 15mg. Last 2 CRP were 10.0 and 10.4. Any thoughts would be welcomed.

Thanks, Bert

6 Replies

Hello Bert, I didn't know that long term use of pred could cause gallbladder problems, other than to say I had an ultrasound just prior to PMR diagnosis and they discovered a polyp on my gallbladder. They do not seem concerned as it is less than 1cm. I will have another ultrasound in 2 years time. How pred will affect the polyp I really can't say. Regards, tina


Hi Bert,

So sorry to hear about the gall stones.

Glad to hear that you have gone from 60 to 15 in less than a year.

Hope that you have given your GCA 'the boot'.

The best way to deal with gall stones is to have the gall bladder removed,

stones and all, before they do some real damage.

I had mine out a few years ago. Good riddance. At least you are probably

at the 'head of the line' because of the GCA. Many of my friends endure

multiple gall stone attacks and trips to GP or Emerg before they can get

any where near a surgeon.

All the best to you, I know what your tummy and you are going thru.



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Bert, during my first undiagnosed year, one of the exploratory tests carried out to try and find out the cause of my symptoms was an ultrasound - the only thing it revealed was a gallstone but not one that was causing any discernible problems. When GCA and PMR were eventually diagnosed, the gallstone was forgotten.....until some years later during an ultrasound for another problem, I mentioned that I had a gallstone only to be informed that there certainly wasn't any sign of a gallstone now. And that was after several years on steroids at a starting dose of 40mgs. So rather than Pred causing gallstones, in my case the gallstone had resolved whilst on Pred!

Have you been taking a calcium supplement which is often routinely prescribed alongside Pred to protect the bones? If so, that just might be the culprit, as too much calcium can cause calcium crystals/stones to form. Due to a misunderstanding between my rheumy and GP, I was never prescribed a calcium supplement, and, in fact, have since discovered that due to a kidney problem, too much calcium could be counterproductive for me, so a narrow escape. I was even advised to have my calcium levels checked before taking a Vitamin D supplement due to deficiency, and again half-way through the 3-month course. Supplementing with Vitamin D enables more calcium from your diet to be absorbed into your body. It is important for everyone taking calcium supplements to have their calcium levels checked to ensure that they are not over-supplementing.

Yes, your urine infection could cause elevated ESR/CRP blood test markers - once the infection is over, repeat tests will hopefully show an improvement.


Had same problem prior to GCA so can't really help re preds but can also say have the lot removed even surgically as I did years ago 1988 and never looked back! Bile duct got blocked and pain was unbearable to straight into Bristol Southmead for me. Good luck with it.


Hi all

Have a look on the vasculitis site, there's some postings on there re gall bladders mine included, I have Gall stones.

Just to add I have been taking pred for 16 years, for GCA/PMR, and calcichew for 5 years, which I have decided to stop, as my dexta scan was normal.

As celtic said " a urine infection will raise the inflammatory markers" I have stage 3 kidney disease with a cyst on the kidney, another reason for stopping the calcichew as I don't want stones in the kidneys as well. As it is at the moment my kidney function has dropped to 36 [ usually hovers around 40 ] and my creatinine is 131, and I always show traces of blood in my urine, yet my GP still wont refer me to a Nephrologist not till I reach stage 4. Sorry if I went off the subject a bit.

PS when I'm on a higher dose of Pred my gall bladder feels better, probably because it's masking the inflammation.



Thank you all for you reply's.. I went to the Dr today and had blood tests and tomorrow going for a MRI of the gallbladder, liver and that whole area and then back to the Dr on Thursday for results...Gallbladder will probably have to come out..but don't know when. Really don't want to have another attack and make things worse. So I have to wait and see what happens on Thurs.

Celtic...thanks for the advice on calcium...I do take 2 calcium chews (500 mg each) and Vitamin D3 (2000 IU) daily..Mentioned it to my Dr and I have to wait till Thurs. He also changed the antibiotic that hospital gave me a script for...I'm now on Cipro..hopefully it will get rid of the urinary infection and get my CRP down. Thanks

bowler.....I will look on the vasculitis site...Sorry about you kidney issue...My husband was on Dialysis for 28 yrs, so I know what your going thru, but I have no idea why your not in the hands of a Nephrologist..why wait till it gets worse....My husband had Polycystic Kidneys (PKD) I'm sure your on meds, but the knowledge of a speciality Dr would be the Dr to see...I wish you Good LucK. Thanks everyone, Bert


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