staring at prednisone

Boomer13
Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
edited 12. Jun 2014, 11:27 in Living with Arthritis archive
It's nearing the end of week six of a nasty joint flare and a horrid bout of depression (I'm not usually prone to this). The pain has been relentless, and of course, I made it all the worse by falling a couple of weeks ago. I finally saw GP last week who gave me another prednisone prescription. The bottle is sitting on my dresser and I've been bargaining away this week hoping the joint pain will settle down on it's own so I don't have to take it (GP left it up to me). I think I have flared badly partly because of the two courses of pred I had taken in Feb/March for the vestibular problem I was having, and stress of course. My skin has flared badly too and I know this can happen after prednisone. Anyway, I don't want to take it again unless I really have to.

As I'm not usually prone to depression, I've never taken my GP very seriously when she has suggested anti-depressant medication. This time though, my not-coping seems to have reached a new low and I am wondering if I may finally need to go this route.

My question is for those of you on one of these, does it really help very much?

I tend to resume being my normally good-natured self when the PsA monster isn't raging around freely. My MRI is in July and I'm racing to the rheumatologist after that is clear to start Enbrel (which of course is going to work brilliantly :wink: )
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Comments

  • Numptydumpty
    Numptydumpty Member Posts: 6,415
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Decisions decisions!
    I have been taking prednisolone for eight years, I'm now on a low maintenance dose, but don't feel able to stop it completely. I do realise it's not good for me to be taking it for so long, but it does seem to be the only thing that "helps" me, and I need it at the moment. I have, so far, resisted antidepressants, somehow they scare me more than pred :?
    I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's really down to you, only you can make the decision. If you feel antidepressants would help, go for it, if you think another course of pred would help, go for that. Maybe the two together would get you through this bad patch. You don't have to take both or either indefinitely, but they could help in the short term.
    You have had an awful lot of **** to contend with recently! I'm sure a little help wouldn't go amiss!
    I hope the Enbrel works brilliantly for you, we all love a success story :D
    I really do feel for you, and hope things improve very soon.
    Take care ((((()))))
    Numpty
  • Boomer13
    Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks Numpty. I'm the same in avoiding antidepressants because of fear. I already feel far too medicated but I know the pred will help...I'm surprised that this flare is so bad, just shows what stress can do.
  • villier
    villier Member Posts: 4,426
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Anna, yes, it is a big decision one that I have been pondering over myself for a while, as Numpty said you have had a lot on your plate this last while.
    My pharmacist friend has said to me to maybe try a short term course just enough to lighten my mood and hopefully get me back on track, I am still undecided as it is pan that is getting me down and like you like you I am scared of them.
    I hope things settle down soon, good luck with the Enbrel I really hope it works for you.
    Take care (((())))..................Marie xx
    Smile a while and while you smile
    smile another smile and soon there
    will be miles and miles of smiles
    just because you smiled I wish your
    day is full of Smiles
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,557
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Oh Anna, I do empathise with your current predicament, it's a ghastly place to be. I was put onto anti-depressants in April 2011 after my mood plummeted on being told I had OA in both knees. I intended to be on them for around three - six months but my rheumatologist disagreed; her reasoning was if I was mentally 'reinforced' I could better with the pain etc. She is right. I take a daily low dose of Citalopram - after we moved I was so deliriously happy I felt I didn't need them - after a month or so I realised I did.

    I think there is an un-necessary stigma towards anti-depressant medication, I never told my Ma that I was on them because I knew what her response would be (something along the lines of stop being feeble, Daughter). I take meds to help with my other conditions, why not this mental condition? It corrects a chemical imbalance and it helps. I would say give them a whirl - why continue to struggle when you cannot take much more? The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune have been hurling themselves at you for some time - it's time to make a shield against them. ((( ))) DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • ichabod6
    ichabod6 Member Posts: 963
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    What Numptydumpty says is right. It's your decision to take it or not.
    It's not the only drug on the shelf; you could ask for alternative prescriptions.
    I took prednisolone on and off for several years in tablet or jabs form.
    I now stab myself with humira every 14 days and take a daily dose
    of azathiroprine, a drug that doesnt seem to be mentioned often on these
    forums. This combination is working for me. I have always used the esr levels as an easy indicator of inflammation and for the last nine months this
    has been in single figures, a heck of a long way from the months of one
    hundred plus.
    There is another side to my success story. As a result of long term usage of
    prednisolone osteoporosis is now with me.
    Take care.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,327
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I apologise, Anna. I saw this just as I was logging off this morning and decided to give it the time it deserved later rather than a rushed reply. Later a friend arrived and stayed. I've only just got to it.

    I've never done anti-deps. That's not to say there haven't been times when I probably should have done. However, I too come from a background where it really was better not to take such things than to either attempt to explain the taking of them or cope with the perpetual cover-up. In my darkest days I used friends. Having come out the other end, I've never felt the need since. If I did, I think my attitude would be less emotional now but I'd still want an escape route before embarking on what, for me, would be such a major expedition.

    Pred? Yup. Been there, done that, quite a few times in my younger days and, in more recent, post-op times, had the jabs. Was it that which caused my osteoporosis? Or just several other pre-disposing factors? Who can say? Would I take it again? Only if essential. I keep my steroid inhalers to an absolute minimum and I know they're targeted. Having said that, in times of desperation we use desperate measures and I'm no exception.

    I hope you can come to the right decision for you. It's a tough one, no doubt.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,557
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello, Anna. I am thinking of you very much. ((( ))) DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Boomer13
    Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you all for your input. It does help to have input, especially when you are feeling low.

    I'm giving myself until June 15th to improve. Then, I'll take the pred which should help until after my MRI at which time I should be able to start Enbrel :shock:

    I can't get over my aversion to antidepressants. I was raised to suck it up, kick your own butt and stop whining already. A friend who takes them has some very strange side-effects which is frightening me off trying one. Maybe I have to get worse and more desperate before I'll try it..... :cry:

    Anna
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,557
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    What happened to you friend won't necessarily happen to you - anti-dep meds are like the arthritis meds in that what helps one won't work for another. I stupidly stopped mine when I thought that our move had sorted everything - what a silly Daisy I was. :roll:

    Anna, you don't have anything to lose but maybe something to gain, why struggle when you may not need to? If they help . . . . . ((( ))) DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • trepolpen
    trepolpen Member Posts: 504
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    hi Boomer13 , myself been on high dose pred for several months , its not ideal but sometimes we have to take them , they sometimes can also cause depression but not always .

    if I was you I would ask your GP or rheumy nurse to arrange a steriod injection , alot of the consultants prefer your GP's to do this than give out steriod tablets

    as for anti-depressants , alot of us take a mild anti-depressant , be carefull about using over the counter drugs as some will interact with drugs like methotrexate
  • mzjones
    mzjones Bots Posts: 38
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Do the steroid injections work better than the pills, or do they generally feel the same? I am scheduled to meet with a new rhemmy for a different autoimmune later in the summer, so I am trying to be prepared. A doctor previously suggested I start prednisone but I did a little research on it and decided I could deal with the symptoms. Plus a friend with lupus told me that prednisone is absolutely dreadful. Can I expect the same results with the shot? I'm afraid the doc is going to say its time to bit the bullet and start taking it...
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,327
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Quite a few of us have a love / hate relationship with pred. On the surface it's a miracle drug – quite literally – but it thins all tissues, not just the inflamed ones, and bones and can leave a trail of hidden destruction in its wake. Having said that, I've had it in pill form, jabs into my rear end and into affected joints. In emergencies one does what one has to do.

    I don't know how it's used for lupus. As for arthritis – we're all different. Pills seem to work for most but are very tricky to phase out. The jabs work well for some but not others. Given a choice I'd go for the jabs as you know when they're wearing off but don't have the difficulty of tailing off pills. However, I've never been given a choice.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Boomer13
    Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    We aren't offered injections here in Canada for some reason. I'd take that instead of the heartburn of the tablets.

    I'm finding the 15th of June is a long way off. I don't think I've had a flare like this in about a year. At least that shows all the meds are doing something :)

    I'm finding the length of time of been in this kind of pain and the unpredictable nature of it is really at the root of the depression. After a while you just stop caring about much of anything.

    I love this time of year. It's heartbreaking to feel like I'm missing it yet again. And, the joint pain of the summer's heat just around the corner :( I remember last summer very well. I tried sitting in the garden the other day; I fainted in a heap :roll:

    Anna
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,557
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I've always loathed spring and summer, I associate them with not being able to breathe (literally) and having to stay indoors, but for those of you who love this time of year it must be tough. I admit I am surprised that you are not offered the direct joint injections, or the more general buttock effort, but I wouldn't be one to recommend them because they don't do much for me. The tablets, however, . . . . I am DD and I am a pred-head. :wink:

    Sticky is right, we do what we have to do to make the immediate easier because without the long-term is not achievable. It may not be wise to set yourself a target for improvement, Anna, arthritis does not respect us let alone our plans. I was happy to take the anti-deps for a short while and then realised their long-term value. They help, end of. ((( ))) DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Boomer13
    Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks DD. The 15th was my target. I'm tough but I'm not sure I can wait till then :shock: The pain is intolerable for me right now. I've never had psoriasis break out on my palms but it's there now, and around my eyes. Lovely, I am not. I can only believe this is the worst of all flares for me. When I want to feel better, I imagine what it would be like without being on DMARDS :o Anyway, I'm planning to go to GP on Monday to talk anti-deps, I've come around to believing I need pharmaceutical help. Having a couple more side-effects seems miniscule just now.

    We aren't offered the buttock delivered pred and I can't say I've had one joint consistently bad enough to warrant an injection. Now all of them, yes, but I'd need the doc for the whole day :D

    Pred head? Me too. I think the only thing saving my bone density is that I've never had children. I've read that they nab a lot of calcium from mum while developing.

    How is your asthma now, DD?
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,327
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    They nab a lot of stuff from Mum, Anna, before and after birth :lol:

    How odd that they don't offer pred jabs where you are though I know there are geographical differences for many eds and treatments.

    I think focusing on long-term goals can be a very good thing but.....there are times when we all have to give in briefly. I know nothing about psoriasis other than my Mum had it mildly but I'd guess that, if yours is bad right now, stress might well be a factor and anything you can do to relieve the stress might also relieve the psoriasis and make life just a little bit more bearable. I don't do this often. ((()))
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Boomer13
    Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks Sticky. :lol::lol: You always manage to make me laugh.

    I'm guessing this flare is some kind of delayed reaction to the stress of OH being away because I haven't had much since he has been home. It's been gradually ramping up since a week or so after he was home and our house guest left. I found having a guest visit was icing on the stress-cake! I was already flaring and found myself trying to clean and do other stupid things that us women feel compelled to do when faced with a visitor.

    It's on the list of things not to do twice.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,327
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I wouldn't bet on you keeping to that list - not if you're anything like me. The road to hell as they say.....

    How is Mr B? I hope he's well on the way to full recovery.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Boomer13
    Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    If you mean by constantly pestering and teasing, then yes, he is back to normal :lol: but :x

    He does still have a bad, worsening knee but he's in denial because he's invincible at 52 :roll:

    He says his back has been better since the accident :shock: I wonder what it's like to be resilient like that?
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,327
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    :lol: I never implied that 'normal' = 'good', Anna.

    As for 'invincible at 52', it gets worse - mine's still an athlete at 71. Where others decry the term 'wear and tear' he clings on to it for dear life. Dontcha just love 'em?

    Enough of the blokes. How are you today?
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • toady
    toady Member Posts: 981
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi, have been following and thinking of you, and the 'when-to-steroid' dilemma.. I have been there with wondering if I can hack it a few more days til a jab, it does seem annoying that that is not an option for you. They did kind of save me until the Enbrel kicked in, which I am heartily hoping will be the same for you. xxx Hope the appointment tomorrow goes well & you are happy with the upshot or at least reach a compromise you can lump, even if like is a bit much to hope for (it often is, eh..).
  • Boomer13
    Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi toady! nice to see you....Enbrel worked in your case, I'm glad. I've read a number of success stories recently with it. I'm still holding off on the pred. and the anti-deps.

    I'm wishing I could view all the pain as just another 'something' I've been through that has reinforced my tough nature, a badge of toughness so to speak....however, maybe it's because us women are so intrinsically practical; we would never be that silly :lol::lol:.

    Sticky, I had some reasonable improvement on Sunday and yesterday, however, today is a bit worse. I'm blaming a long day yesterday. In a few more days, it will be two months in this particular flare. I think that's enough, now? I think maybe it's on the way out because I'm feeling less depressed. A good sign :D The joints, etc can improve similarly anytime.....
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,327
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    It's very good that you're feeling less depressed, Anna. In some odd way that I've never quite fathomed that could help the joints too. Just don't push it :wink:

    I do actually believe the old adage that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. It works for me anyway.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Boomer13
    Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I don't think the lessening depression has improved the joint pain, Sticky, it's still grinding on. I'm choosing to believe the depression is part of the flare (as it sometimes seems to be in my case) and since it has lifted, perhaps this means the flare is slowly lifting too Or, I'm believing in a fairy tale again.
    I do actually believe the old adage that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

    I used to believe in this too. No more, as I believe I would be much better off completely ignorant of the kind of pain/misery I've been through. It's made me cautious and cynical and I don't think these are strengths. I don't want my PsA badge of strength anymore, wish to send it back now, please :) .
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,327
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Boomer13 wrote:
    I believe I would be much better off completely ignorant of the kind of pain/misery I've been through. It's made me cautious and cynical and I don't think these are strengths. I don't want my PsA badge of strength anymore, wish to send it back now, please :) .

    :lol: Oddly enough, I think I went the other way. When I was at my worst, pre-TKRs with two young boys, I've no idea how I got through some days but I guess I threw caution to the wind and just acted on the basis that arthritic pain doesn't kill you. I still love taking chances. I get a kick out of it.

    As for cynicism, I think I'm quite cynical in many ways but I can't attribute that to arthritis. It's just me :lol:
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright