Friday, July 31, 2015

Prednisone: My RA Frenemy

     Ah, prednisone.  That effective yet horrible side-effect producing standard medication for inflammation.  It helps, but it also hurts.  This medication usually induces a love-hate relationship for those who must use it.

     If you are not already familiar, prednisone is a corticosteroid commonly prescribed to lower inflammation in the body.  It is often used for rheumatoid arthritis, and it is very helpful in controlling inflammation.  

     However, prednisone is not meant for long-term use because it causes serious side effects.  Long-term use is difficult to quantify when your body is constantly fighting inflammation, and patients can be reluctant to stop using a medication that is helping them feel better.  That's why prednisone is so devious and dangerous.  Side effects include bone loss, increased appetite, weight gain, moon face, insomnia, headaches, nausea, bruising, slow wound healing, moodiness, depression, anxiety and many more.

     My experience with prednisone has not been great.  It did help lower inflammation, but it also caused weight gain and moon face (my face became round and puffy) and exacerbated existing issues with insomnia, depression and anxiety.  It also caused bone loss, which now requires another medication to help rebuild bone density.  Lovely medication, isn't it?

     I took prednisone consistently for about two years before realizing it was causing problems or making existing problems worse.  I call this medication devious because the side effects are not immediately apparent.  Let's use bone loss as an example.  I couldn't feel my bones thinning; I only found out after a routine bone density scan.  It wasn't a good feeling to hear I have the bones of someone twice my age.  Now, thanks to prednisone, I have to take yet another pill for at least two years to help rebuild the bone destruction.

     While I appreciate the existence of an effective medication like prednisone to help treat RA inflammation, I don't like the price I had to pay.  I'm not currently taking this medication, mostly because I'm afraid of what else it could do to me.  Thankfully, I'm doing okay with other medications.  If I had to depend on it again, I can honestly say I would be very hesitant to take something so dangerously effective.

No comments:

Post a Comment