What SHOULD I expect of prednisone??
Hi everyone - am new to the site and have introduced myself elsewhere.
I am not going into great detail because I'm sure no-one needs a long missive. Suffice to say that I was 'tentatively' diagnosed with lupus just over 4 weeks ago after my second visit to my rheumatologist and all the appropriate lupus panel blood tests etc. I suffer a lot of pain in the thighs and can't walk very far or stand for very long - at my first visit the doctor gave injections of cortisone into both sides of my body having decided that the pain was from severe soft-tissue inflammation. Suffice to say that before I arrived at the rheumy's office I had had countless tests and x-rays and osteo arthritis was ruled out by an orthpaedic surgeon and my RA bloods are all negative. I have no skin involvement.
At my second visit - with all the blood results in - the rheumatologist said that taking into consideration ALL my symptoms (not mentioned here for the sake of brevity) and the blood results - +ANA etc that I obviously have an autoimmune disease and the results point to lupus.
He started me on a very mild (10mg daily) dose of prednisone which I have now been taking for almost 3 weeks. I actually feel quite lousy on it. For the first couple of hours after taking it I am very 'woolly headed" - this disappears but I am left feeling more fatigued even than usual, very irritable and bad tempered (not normal for me), my lower limbs feel like lead and the pain is still there (cortisone injections having had no effect).
My query is - does it take a while for prednisone to 'kick in'?? what kind of improvements should I be expecting? and would plaquenil have been a better idea than prednisone as someone suggested to me??
I am only on the prednisone for a 4 week 'trial' period after which I am to ring him and report back as to the effects - which I will do next week. I am lucky in that he is a very pleasant and thorough doctor - a Specialist Physician as well as rheumatologist - but I am just a little concerned as to whether he is doing the right things.
I should add that I am older than one would normally be in diagnosing lupus - he says it is 'late onset' and probably milder than if I were much younger though he believes I have had it through all the many years when I imagined I had rheumatoid arthritis.
Damn - longer than I intended - but any feedback from the experienced amongst you would be very welcome
Sheesh !!!!!! - censored ops: ops: ops: ops: ops: ops:
and that was the very mildest swear word in the world :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
I am writing this in response to you as well as to elicit more response from others here as to what they have heard.
My rheumy told me that prednisone would be required for me if my kidneys got involved, but aside from that it would not really be necessary. For someone with "low level, mild" lupus, this seems to be a strong medicine. About plaquenil he said that it would not slow my possible progression toward organ involvement, but would just possibly minimize my symptoms. Since I like to think my symptoms are not worse that the likely side effects of a drug they have no idea why it helps us, I have continued to not take plaquenil. I will take the prednisone if my kidneys get involved, but grudgingly at best. As my symptoms continue to get worse I may consider plaquenil, but I feel I would rather keep my body free of pharmaceutical chemicals.
Of course all these decisions are very personal and everyone experiences lupus differently, but it seems prednisone may be firing way to big of a weapon for the target.
Thank you so much Brent for taking the time and trouble to reply. I see where you are coming from - you are saying that it's rather like using a mallet to kill a gnat I guess!!!!
After finally finding out more or less what is wrong with me and perhaps expecting the rest to be straightforward I find myself a tad more confused than I was before And I am sure everyone who reads these forums will relate to that!!
I continue to feel unwell on the prednisone - terrible hot sweats today - they are normal for me though so it's hard to know if it's the medication or whether I am having a 'flare' and I would have felt like this anyway - sigh!! I am incline to your point of view Brent and what you are doing - I am tempted to go back to square one where I was just taking painkillers and no other pharmaceuticals.
I shall ring the doctor earlier than planned - I think that's the best solution.
It's morning here in NZ - seems like most contributors hail from the US of A so we are probably all on different time zones. Wherever you are - be as well as you can for the upcoming day
Its a tough decision to decide if the disease is worse than what the drugs may do to you. My health has been shaky lately, so I am considering bigger options, but I wont do it just because a dr. told me to. I am relatively new to lupus, but so little is really known about it that I find it hard to really take one persons opinion about what is right for me. I want to search deep within myself to find what is right for me. It is testing me lately as I feel like crap, but if I take all those drugs and still feel like crap, then I will be even more frustrated.
But I do want to add one caveat. Get more opinions here before you make any serious decisions. I would hate to hear you reduced meds and had problems. These are very difficult decisions and I have been struggling greatly with them lately, but it is good to be questioning things.
Thanks Brent - I think I understand where you are coming from - we are both perhaps looking for answers about medication - others here seem to be quite confident with what they and their rheumy's are doing which is great.
Sorry to hear that you are feeling so crappy - and I agree - if one is not taking medication at least one knows that the crap feeling is not emanating from something one is taking in - cold comfort perhaps. :?
You take care too,
Appreciate your input.