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Is an abscess a flare?

I've had GCA since September 2014, with the usual ups and downs on pred and the occasional flare up. A couple weeks back I woke with pains across my body and thought PMR was kicking in. The pain got worse, plus a lump developed in my groin; that too was very painful. GP prescribed anti biotic, but that didn't work. Eventually GP diagnosed an abscess that required an emergency op as it sat on blood vessels. If the abscess burst I could be a goner.

My blood test had given an ESR reading of 53 compared with my usual 5-8. My question is, was this a GCA flare up, or just a reaction to the fact that pred increases our chances of picking up an infection?

4 Replies

Oh poor you Roy46. You need to ask that question of your doctors. My guess is it will be because of your compromised immune system. I get lots of little things that are slow to heal, it's making me paranoid about small injuries. I expect the whole episode will have set you back and you've had to increase your Pred dose. Let us know what you are advised. Take care!


I think it is far more likely to be the pred making it more difficult to fight off an infection and the ESR was an expression of the infection not the GCA.

Hope it is all sorted out now.


Roy the same happened to me

. Last March I had an abscess on the retina of my eye and was sent to the hospital. I still have a scar in the corner of my eye.

At the time I was also on a DMARDS drug.

I am sure that is from the suppressed immune system.

I am on Predisone also since 2014.

Having stopped taking another immune suppressing drug and being on

much lower Predisone now, number of side effects have disappeared .

Wishing you a speedy recovery.

I was gi ven antibiotic and steriod medication,

but all heals very slowly when we are on Predisone.



Thank you all for your advice and kind comments. I'm glad (!) it's the pred causing the problem and not GCA.

It seems to be a case of a rock or a hard place: take pred and suffer the side effects; come down on pred and take the consequences of GCA. My money is on taking pred, but reducing slowly, slowly.

I was on 12.5mgs in January, but then had an inflammation of the nasal lining. GP said go up to 20mgs. I was in so much pain that I took her advice and it worked. But it put me back and it's taken me since then to get down to 14.5mgs. I'll stick with that until my next blood test. All being well I'll reduce by 1mg a month after that. With a following wind it means I could be "clean" by the end of 2018, a four year journey. But I suspect that there Re a few more snakes and ladders to negotiate before then!!


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