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Anxiety and Prednisone? Anyone? PLEASE
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Anxiety and Prednisone? Anyone? PLEASE

Hey all,

After having a severe allergic reaction this weekend to an unknown substance, I am currently in the midst of a taper of the drug Prednisone.  The docs had to give it to me thru an IV at the ER, and then they told me I had to taper off it for hte next 15 days (I didnt have much choice in matter considering the shape I was in).  The first 5 days I had to take 20mg 5 times per day (this ended yesterday); the next 5 days (starting today) I take 40mg, and finally the last 5 days I take 20mg.  To be honest, I have been exceptionally anxious since I had the allergic reaction, because I don't know why it happened.  But, I'm wondering, is the Prednisone making my anxiety even worse?  See...just last week (9 days ago) I upped my dosage of fluoxetine to 10mg.  Then I had the allergic reaction on Friday (7 days ago)...my docs DID not think it was my medication, however, and I have continued taking it since the allergy.  Anyway, today, I am stepping down the prednisone, and my anxiety is OUT THE ROOF!  It is worse than it has been in a long time.  I am shaky, my heart feels racy, I feel just tense and tight all over, and I absolutely cannot relax!  I'm also having some muscle stiffness, but nothing severe.  

So..I guess my question out of all of this is do you think the Prednisone is contributing to my severe anxiety?  Or is it the Fluoxetine increase (which I was expecting extra anxiety from anwya, but not this bad)?  Or is it just the fact that I am so paranoid about my new buddy..the allergy?  Or is it a combo of everything together (I realize this is probably the real answer, but I just want to hear what you all have to say)?  

Also, if you could share some of your experiences about Prednisone I would love to hear it.  I have been reading that this drug can cause all kinds of psychiatric side effects, and I'm thinking that's why my anxiety is so much worse.  Also, can I expect to feel better when I stop taking it next week...or will I suffer from withdrawal (even though I've only taken it for 15 days)?  

Oh--and could I take klonopin with this to help ease the anxiety?
PLEASE...HELP!  
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547573_tn?1234659310
Namaste,

Prednisone is in a class of drugs called steroids. Prednisone prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation.

Prednisone is used to treat many different conditions such as allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, or breathing disorders.

Prednisone may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

One of the serious side effects of prednisone is severe depression, unusual thoughts or behavior,  and seizures (convulsions). and if you experience any of these you should contact your provider for guidance.

Some of the lesser side effects of prednisone are sleep problems (insomnia), and mood changes, which will often dissipate after taking the medication for a short period of time.

Fluoxetine is an antidepressant in a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Fluoxetine affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause depression, panic, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive symptoms.

Fluoxetine is used to treat major depressive disorder, bulimia nervosa (an eating disorder) obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

It's anti-anxiety properties are however, minimal, and will not handle a major anxiety attack.

If you're feeling extremely agitated and anxious, I recommend you contact your psychiatrist for an appropriate medication, to get you through this period while you're coming off the prednisone.

I also feel that you are creating some undo anxiety by worrying so much about all that is going on in your life right now. I know it's easy to tell you to relax, but unfortunately, that's exactly what you need to do. Try deep breathing exercises or meditation, both of which are extremely uselful in relaxation therapy. The basics of both can be found on the Internet.

Michael(Jikan)
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Autumn,

Prednisone as Jikan has pointed out is a steroid. It does cause agitation, but it reduces inflammation. A few years back I had to go on some steroid medication and I was anxious like anything. It increases heart rates and blood pressure only if used long term and this is the long term effects I believe and it affects some people worse than others.

It is interesting that you mention you felt more anxious coming off the prednisone, which I think could mean 2 things. Since you upped the fluoxetine dose, it may have caused an inital agitation . This is one possibility . The second could be that whatever allergic reaction you have, your body must still be fighting it off and that is why you are agitated still.

My understanding about fluoxetine is that it is very agitating out of all the SSRI's , Zoloft is the other.

So what do you do now. I guess you need to see your doctor and see whether he can prescribe you something short term to ease your anxiety. Personally, I did not like Xanax . Whenever I get very anxious I just take a 2mg Valium, it seems to help. But this is me.

You might just need something to help you with the prednisone and fuoxetine transition. Try to eat a healthy diet and perhaps not a good idea to take any herbal preparation until you are better. I used to take chamomile tea to relax and every time i took  it I couldn't breathe, like I had a mini asthma attack. Later on I found out I was indeed allergic to chamomile tea.

I think it is still a good idea to go and get that allergy test done.

Sumi
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Avatar_m_tn
yes, anxiety is a potential side effect.  I am experiencing it myself right now, from Prednisone for allergies.  Klonopin can help
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1547887_tn?1298867551
Prednisone.........Ahhhh I had it Once.......... AND I WILL NEVER TAKE THAT CRAP AGAIN!  Prednisone "MESSED" ME UP ON A LEVEL I CANT EVEN BEGIN TO EXPLAIN......... I literaly could not sleep for 5 DAYS!!!!!!!!! I thought I was going to have a breakdown..... I tell every DR now im allergic to it.... I would bet anything  Prednisone is causing all the issues you are feeling......... It wasGOD AWFUL FOR ME..... Ask the Doc.....
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Avatar_m_tn
People: I know what you went thru. The reason for the Anxiety and Panic attacks is simple : YOUR BRAIN ISN'T PRODUCING GABA-SEROTONINE.

I'm on a treatment as we speak because I started having panick and anxiety attacks after an allergy treatment (Prednisone for 7 days). Thanks to this wonderful drug, my GABA and Serotonine levels decreased so I didn't have any "Brakes" as your brain starts to go out of sync. I would recommend anyone who has this symptoms to read "The Edge Effect", it explains everything in there.

Good Luck everyone!
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1837563_tn?1339907400
This is the worse drug for me ever!!! Alot of people on this site under prednisone has said the same. I was given this for vertigo, because the PA thought i had fluid in my ears. Each pill was 5mg, the first day I started with 6 pills, THATS 30mg!! Then weened down. By day three I was sick as a dog. Anxiety out the butt! Irritability, night sweats, weak, tired and could not sleep. Everytime I would try to fall asleep, I would feel these weird brain zapps in my head, and at the same time my body would heat up really hot, sweaty and heart racing fast. I woke up each time exhausted, confused and scared. I woke up at least 6 times in one night! Then enough was enough, I went to the ER and they ran all test. My bp was high...but everything else normal. It took a month to get over these side effects. That was September 10, 2011, now im doing much better. Almost back to my old self. Prednisone really frazzled my nerves and IS NOT FOR EVERYONE!!  If you have any type of anxiety, mental issues or are just sensitive to steriods, USE THIS DRUG WITH CAUTION PLEASE!!
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Avatar_m_tn
Can someone please tell me how long it took for the side effects to go away? It has almost been 7 weeks for me. I am better but on 0.375 of Klonopin... Please help! I did not have any anxiety or panic symptoms before this. Thanks!
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Avatar_m_tn
I was also put on predisone 20 mg a day since August.2011. Then my rhemy told me to taper down from 20, 15, 10, 5 every two weeks. A few weeks later I began feeling tired, then anxiety began. My Rhemy told me it was a UIT infection was put on antibotics a week later no changed..Finally called my pcp told me to hurry into emergency room and was going through withdrawls. Was put back on 10mg the tiredness went away. So the anxiety is still there and was told this should last when I taper down which will be in couple of months. This is a bad drug and I have been advising my family and community members to becareful of this drug. So my question is how long has your anxiety lasted? I will never use this drug again.
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Avatar_m_tn
I was also put on predisone 20 mg a day since August.2011. Then my rhemy told me to taper down from 20, 15, 10, 5 every two weeks. A few weeks later I began feeling tired, then anxiety began. My Rhemy told me it was a UIT infection was put on antibotics a week later no changed..Finally called my pcp told me to hurry into emergency room and was going through withdrawls. Was put back on 10mg the tiredness went away. So the anxiety is still there and was told this should last when I taper down which will be in couple of months. This is a bad drug and I have been advising my family and community members to becareful of this drug. So my question is how long has your anxiety lasted? I will never use this drug again.
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1837563_tn?1339907400
I took pred in sept 2011 and by day three I was sick as a dog!!!! I was on a 6 day dose. I stopped it on day four or five. My anxiety was out the yahoo!!!! I went to the ER over 8 times in 2 months and none of those lazy butt doctors admitted it was the prednisone! I suffered until early nov 2011 and wasnt fully better until mid december. A neurologist finally tole me two weeks ago, that it indeed was the pred. Your Rhemy is an idiot to say you had a UTI. But i am not surprised, thats what they do, misdianosed. Pred can possibly kill you, if stopped incorrectly. I really feel that drug should only be used for really sick people. Not healthy people, with minor issues!!!!! the dumb PA in my doctors office gave me prednisone for vertigo!!!!!!! she thought I had fluid in my ear causing the imbalance. Dummy didnt have sense to refer me to a ENT!!! When all was said and done, my dizziness aka VERTIGO, was a result from very low iron, my hemoglobin was 8!!! I have very heavy menstration so im anemic. Anyway, just goes to show you are dumb and lazy PA's and some doctors are. You should be better after you fully stop Pred. Give your body 2 months, give or take.
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1837563_tn?1339907400
CORRECTION:   .


show you how dumb and lazy PA's and some doctors are. You should be better after you fully stop Pred. Give your body 2 months, give or take.
.

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Avatar_m_tn
My experience with Prednisone is similar.  I was given a 16 day course, starting at 40mg a day.  Day 5, went to emergency room because couldn't breath, couldn't think.  Doc told me to quit taking it immediately.  For the next 3.5 months, my life was hell.  Panic attacks (which I didn't even know existed) along with constant "not feeling right".  Doctor gave me some Ativan, which helped a little.  I think it mostly helped me because it would make me drowsy, and I could fall asleep for a couple of hours. In the middle of that 3.5 months, there was a week where I thought I was better, but then out of nowhere, anxiety came back.  During this period of time, I tried all kinds of things like walking, changing diet, etc.  Finally, I went for some blood tests and they tested everything.  All was normal!  Except I wasn't normal.  The blood tests did at least make me feel like I could quit trying vitamins, switching up diets, etc., assuming something was off.  I'm now basically back to normal, 4 months later.  You will get better!  I wish I had found a cure or something that would speed up the recovery from that poison, but I didn't.  Nor could I find anyone that had found a cure either.  My best advice is to sleep whenever you can, walk off some energy, and keep telling yourself this is all temporary, which it is.
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Avatar_n_tn
In September I stopped using my high does of nasacort nasal steroid cold turkey because supposedly it does not get into the system and doesn't need to be tapered (what my Dr. said).  About 2 weeks later, my life fell apart. Horrendous withdrawal symptoms that clearly mean the cortisol has been in my entire system.  Horrible muscle pains, tingling, numbness, nausea, fever, headaches, lost 10 pounds that I couldn't afford to lose, and perhaps most horrendous anxiety through the ROOF.  It is 3 months later and I am still dealing with anxiety, nausea, and not feeling right.  The anxiety nearly led me to the ER this afternoon because I was going out of my mind.  I never had any panic or anxiety issues prior to the steroid use.  This is all new and very scary.  My GP. just prescribed a low dose of Klonopin just to get me through the rest of this withdrawal.  I have 2 small kids and a husband that have been very patient, but I feel guilty that I've gone crazy.  PLEASE, everyone, realize that nasal corticosteroids prescribed for allergies are still steroids, and don't go cold turkey even if your doctor says it will be fine.  I will be writing the FDA to encourage more education to the prescribing Drs.  Of course, my prescribing Dr. still doesn't believe that this could happen.  The endocrinologist says it definitely can and did.  
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Avatar_m_tn
Years ago I took prednisone for a bad poison oak problem.  I read the physician's desk reference a few days into the treatment- I call the prednisone medicine Hell Pills.  It took me many weeks to stabilize from the prednisone, not fun.

Last Sept and November I received some 15 prednisone shots in my scalp (hair falling out in small area) on 2 occasions.  And I had a prednisone solution to wipe on the spot twice a day- I found later is was systemic to my fingers also.  So I have had a lot of this drug injected into me recently.

I have generalized anxiety, gained 12 pounds looks like mainly in my chest (I never have a full chest) which stayed bloated, my breathing was often labored, and there is now low grade wheezing - maybe my chamomile teas are backfiring I hear (I have typical seasonal allergies).

Can't wait to have "me" back- and I wonder how long this will take.  I bet I will be to spring with getting stabilized.  What a joke.

The bottom line is that there is a pitiful effort made to inform patients with these medications.  And prednisone is maybe sometimes a good drug, but for me it is awful.  There is a mammoth amount of this negative information on this drug- the medical industry ought to be ashamed of itself.
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Avatar_m_tn
I've had similar experiences.   Takes me a long time to get over the side effects once I'm off it.  Tell the doctors about it and they think I'm crazy or insulting them for even mentioning it.
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Avatar_m_tn
I really don't like this stuff at all.   I was having difficulty breathing and went into the ER.   I was just getting over a sever cold and flu, when it turned into Bronchitis.  First time ever having it and I admit, I was a smoker (quit when I contracted Bronchitis).  They thought I had a blood clot at first, did a CT scan, and said it was good except I had swollen bronchial tubes.   They have me antibiotics and a prescription of Prednisone.  Did 5 days of 40mg, one 20mg pill in the morning and one at night.   Then I had 1 day of 20mg and then was done.   On day 5, I noticed that the 12 hours in-between the pills, was starting to wear off.  Started feeling anxiety settling in.  We at dinner that night, after which I took my Prednisone pill.  It takes about an hour for that stuff to start taking effect.  Well, needless to say, after having eaten (probably too much), the anxiety kicked in the sensation of not being able to breath pretty bad.  I thought I was going to bite it that night (only 35).  

The Prednisone must have kicked in because within an hour, I felt relaxed again and actually felt fatigued quite a bit and went to bed right away.  The next day I took my last 20mg pill, but didn't feel too good.  I went through the rest of the night and the next couple of days feeling like crap.  Didn't get anxiety though because I was hardly eating anything as I thought initially that's what was triggering it.  3 days later (4 days from the attack), I had another attack shortly after we ate.  This time I hadn't eaten a whole lot.  But this attack wasn't going away.  Tried to calm myself, tried various breathing exercises and other things to stay calm but nothing helped.  An hour and a half later, I was up in the ER.  They mis-diagnosed me up there thinking I was having a GERD attack from eating.  Needless to say, I suffered through about another week of anxiety before it finally died down.

But it became a "darned if I do, darned if I don't" time for me.  The prednisone actually did help the inflammation of the bronchial tubes.  They were so inflamed, I couldn't cough up any phlegm, which just exasperated my problems and prolonged them.  But which is the lesser of two evils... the swollen bronchial tubes and tight chest which makes each breath seem like a job, or no problems breathing while on Prednisone but have to suffer anxiety attacks that simulate not being able to breath?  They gave me Flovent and said that while it has Prednisone in there, that I wouldn't suffer from the anxiety... but I did.  Washing mouth out just not enough, I still feel the anxiety from the inhaler just as much as the pill.   It's been a month and still trying to get over the Bronchitis stuff... but hard to tell if I'm getting better or not when I get Prednisone side effects that are just as bad.
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Avatar_m_tn
Wow I am glad I am not going crazy then after reading a lot of what I just read on this site. I came to this site by searching some side affects on taking Prednizone and the possibility of anxiety etc. After reading everyone's notes on this I at least feel a lot less anxious than I did before reading it all. I have to get up for work in less than 5 hours and I just could not get settled down enough to sleep. I went to the DR because of tightness in my chest and learned that I had bronchitis and was then given a script for a heavy antibiotic and also Prednizone. I think if I would have read this first I may have forgone the Prednizone. I am only on my third day of taking it and have three more days to take the rest and am supposed to wean off of it I guess. Seems as though I might be a little more uncomfortable even after that by what I read.  Feeling like I almost wanted to go to the ER because I was anxious enough to think I was getting a heart attach but after reading this all, I feel much better . Just have to get though the experience. Thank you all
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Avatar_m_tn
I just read your post regarding prednisone withdrawal and am wondering if you received any anti-anxiety meds during the 4 months it took you to normalize back to yourself?  I had 125 mg of solu-medrol at hospital for adverse reaction to allergy shot and the only 2 days of 40mg prednisone - went back to ER 3 times that week - felt horrible, head heavy, fatigue, I couldn't have felt worse.  SED rate high - everything else normal.  Then over next 3 weeks got every blood test - normal - MRI - normal!  Thank goodness but still felt horrible.  Then I had insomnia for 3 weeks.  I am out 6 weeks and now have anxiety attacks, but today felt a little more myself at times.  I do not want to start medications, but I feel like I can't get through this on my own.  
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Avatar_m_tn
This thread has been very helpful for me, just wanted to post my experience.

I was given Prednisone after going to the hospital for a nasty bout of bronchitis - my asthma was getting worse and the rescue inhaler was not working well, so they gave me Prednisone.

After 3-4 days of 40mg of Prednisone, I COMPLETELY freaked out.  Debilitating panic attacks, pounding heartbeat, massive sweats at night, unable to sleep at all for 4-5 days.  Almost called an ambulance due to incredibly bad panic attack/feeling of going insane.

I immediately stopped the Prednisone but it's been 3 months and I am NOT fully recovered!  The recovery has been unbelievably slow.  For the first 2 months I couldn't sleep more than 3-5 hours per night, now I am up to 6-7 per night.  Often wake up in the morning with heart palpitations and panic/anxiety.  Never had any mental issues before whatsoever.

I want to post this study, it was very helpful to me, it describes the problem to a T - "steroid psychosis".  It suggest that phenothiazines can be very helpful when given right away.  My doctor gave me Klonopin which helped slightly, but you can suffer bad withdrawal symptoms after only a short time on this med, I wish my docs had known to give phenothiazines instead, this study says that it can actually fix the psychosis quickly:

http://www.drrichardhall.com/steroid.htm

Good luck to anyone going through this, you will get better but very slowly.  My problem now is that I have poorly controlled asthma and when I take either Intal or Flovent to addres it the anxiety/panic/sickness feelings get worse.  Not sure how I am going to reduce the asthma at this point.

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Avatar_m_tn
thank you all for sharing ,

I thought I was going crazy . Anxiety and panic attacks coming back after being free from them for over 7 years.

All this because I had to go on prednisone for a blocked ear by my ent doctor.

I was on on 50mg for 2 days,40mg for 2 days,30mg for 2 days,20mg for 2 days.10mg 2 days,5mg for 2 days of which I finished just this past sunday,

And OMG the anxiety attacks , insomnia and panic all started as I was tapering off and are still lasting 3 days after not taking it. I am so glad you all posted your experiences as now I know I am not crazy or ALONE. Many people seem to have worse anxiety after finishing prednisone so I can tell my wife now I am not going crazy .

THANK YOU SO MUCH TO ALL OF YOU.
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Avatar_m_tn
One more update from me - 8 months out from taking the Prednisone at this point, I'd say I'm about 80-90% recovered.  Finally able to sleep normally without any medication.  Cognitive abilities/thought processes are almost back to normal.   Still a tiny edge of fogginess and anxiety but it's fading fast.

During the last several months of recovery I found strenous exercise very helpful, it worked better on the symptoms (heart palpitations, anxiety, brain-fog, insomnia) than any medication.  Even though I was terribly exhausted from the lack of sleep I forced myself to go to the gym and it helped.

For people suffering from this, I would say "hang in there".  For months I thought I'd never return to my old life of being normal.  But I was getting better, every month I'd notice I was better than the month before, so I focused on that.  Whatever the prednisone did to me, it does seem to be something that heals or wears off in time, even though it pretty much ruined 2014 for me.

This episode, I would call it poisoning, is the worst medical problem ever for me, and I've had some pretty bad stuff before.  I don't trust any prescription meds anymore, I'm taking herbs and alternative treatments whenever I possibly can from now on.  
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