Asthma Community
how long can you take steroids safely?
About This Community:

This patient support community is for discussions relating to asthma, asthma control, breathing difficulty, bronchodilators, children's asthma, drug allergies, exercise-induced asthma, house dust and indoor allergens, pets, school issues, and sports activity.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

how long can you take steroids safely?

I was taking prednisone this year for about 2 months total and read it causes bone loss/high sugar.
how long can I take it safely, can I take 10mg/day for 6 months to a year?
my wheezing and 94% oxygen doesn't respond to dulera, xopenex, singulair
Related Discussions
20 Comments Post a Comment
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Obviously, you want to be on the prednisone for as short a time as possible to avoid long term side effects.  However, NOT being on it is sometimes not an option.

Everyone is different and can/will react to medications differently - and the side effects that one person experiences may not affect someone else with the same medication and dosage.  So, unfortunately, it' simpossible for someone to tell you how long you can be on th eprednisone before side effects starting taking their toll.

There actually are many people who are on prednisone for very extended periods of time, such as organ transplant patients - so, in reality, it IS possible to do that.  I, personally, at one time, was on 120 mg (yes that did say 120mg!) a day of prednisone for about 1 1/2 years due to my very severe, uncontrolled asthma.  Of course, at that high of a dose, the side effects I had were pretty severe - and they were partially the reason my doctor admitted me to the hospital and weaned me down while in the hopsital, rather than having me do it at home.

You can help reduce some of the side effects of prednisone by maintaining a healthy diet (I know, sometimes very difficult with the prednisone 'cause it makes you want to be munching all the time), watch your blood sugars and things that raise your blood sugar (and if necessary, going on diabetic medications while you're on the prednisone - it doesn't necessarily mean you'll have to be on the for life), reduce your salt intake to help with bloating, increase your water intake (again to help with bloating and weight gain), maintain exercising if at all possible (to help with weight gain, blood sugars, etc.), keep skin moisturized (helps becasue prednisone can cause th skin to get thinner and therefore, you can get more stretch marks and/or the skin could actually tear)

One other thing I will say is, even though 10mg a day is a relatively low dose, if you're on it for six months, be sure that your doctor weans you down off of it after that time (if you don't need it any longer) because your adrenals will still need time to kick back in.  Don't let your doc just tell you to stop the med (most good docs wouldn't do that, but I had one that tried to tell me to just stop after I had been on 20mg daily for 8 months and I got really sick from trying to do that).  Even at small doses over an extended period of time, the prednisone does affect how your adrenals work and they will need a period of time to readjust to working naturally.

Best o fluck!
Blank
144586_tn?1284669764
Geminigirl stated the situation quite well. Some people require prednisone in order to survive. The alternative is death. That being said, the medication should be used judiciously. If you need it, you need it, but try your best to consider alternatives. There may not be any. One problem with long term use (over six months, daily) is the development of malignancies. High dose prednisone shuts down the immune system. This does not mean that everyone develops a malignancy. Generally, once started on a regimin the dose should be "tapered off". There are alternatives, such as inhalers that deliver very small doses.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
my breathing seems bad, when I exhale after a second my breath stops and there's an obstruction and wheezing
I've tried 30 days of prednisone and 2 medrol packs and don't know what other meds to try?
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I'm not sure if 90-94 O2 is good.  I read at 92 the oxygen cannot penetrate your blood vessels?  I feel tired all the time and can't work or study.
I wouldn't mind being on prednisone for 6 months but I don't want to get cancer
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I don't want to lose my brain, heart, and lung function.  and it seems that prednisone can maintain that?  
I also take metformin to keep my ha1c, blood sugar normal.  I started xopenex and combivent on the nebulizer but I still have this strange blockage and wheezing when I exhale.  xopenex may have fewer side effects than albuterol.  The combivent inhalers may soon be phased out also because of CFCs.
I also take spiriva and it seems to help but I'm not really sure what it does
Blank
144586_tn?1284669764
You might try Foradil (formoterol fumarate inhalation powder), distributed by Schering. You use one capsule (a 12mcg dose) every twelve hours. Some people have a lot of trouble with this medication and others experience nothing but relief. The physician's recommendation (and the PDR) is to take it together with an inhaled steroid, however some people do well on Foradil alone. Although the instructions state Foradil is not an emergency remedy, in fact it works very quickly to relieve distress. So quickly, that I feel it is mislabled and should be recommended for such use. The down side is the medication is relatively expensive.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
there is oral ventolin tablets (albuterol) that I'm interested in trying.  I'm not sure about theophylline since it has these serious side effects like cardiac arrythmias.

what is a normal FEV1?  At 72 for 2 years I really don't feel normal even though I've tried all these meds like symbicort/singular.
I think I should get a chest MRI or CT scan now
I feel like my pulmonologist has been undertreating my asthma and letting me suffer
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
thanks very much for the replies!
I feel now that I wouldn't hesistate to take steroids because it preserves my brain and lung function and reduces GI inflammation.  a pulmonologist told me that taking prednisone course of 30mg/day for 1 week may prevent my asthma from getting worse (this is a more aggressive approach)
Blank
144586_tn?1284669764
The oral ventolin tablets work fairly well. A downside is that a certain universe of patients (not all) become resistant to albuterol.

Prednisone is a very mixed bag. I am not a happy camper with long term use of prednisone. I have an asthmatic condition that presents itself as being non-existant, and then, when an attack comes on, it becomes life-threatening within a very short time. On ocasion, it is absolutely necessary that I work in an area that I know will cause an attack (cleaning out a dusty attic, for example, to retrieve critical documents), I take prednisone several hours beforehand. Now a person is not supposed to go into a dusty area (even with a mask), but sometimes life places demands on a person.

There is no "right protocol" for prednisone.

When a lung(s)  becomes, for lack of a better term, "twitchy", prednisone helps to "settle things down". It doesn't simply help. It works. I find that lungs become twitchy after an infection - sometimes for weeks afterwards. It usually takes three to five days for so-called "twitchiness" to disappear. I use the protocol 40, 30, 20, 10, 5.  Then I get off the prednisone. But that depends on your weight. I am over 200 pounds and six foot tall. For a hundred pound patient, 20, 15, 10 and 5 might be more appropriate.

I would not be so quick to state that one should not hesitate to take oral prednisone. One should hesitate. The first thing to do is to try and make sure you are in a dust-free alergin-free living space. Avoid exposure to extremely cold weather (these cause me to have an episode).  Take care of bacterial lung infections promptly with appropriate antibiotics.  Inhaled steroids are far easier on the body.

As far as a scan goes, a CT (because of the radiation) is more hazardous than an MRI.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
thanks very much!  isn't foradil the same ingredient contained in symbicort?
a friend of mine takes asmanex, but I'm not having results on advair 500 or symbicort.
I have high blood sugar but the effect of prednisone on blood sugar seems minimal, maybe bone loss is more of a factor at 3 months.  I also took 2 medrol packs but it didn't seem as effective as prednisone, so I'm really out of options.  I kind of wish I could get solumedrol from my doctor so I don't get brain damage.  
the neurologist says that I am having sleep apnea problems because of uncontrolled asthma
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
so people with asthma, like yourselves don't necessarily have sleep apnea?  you should get a sleep test sometime to check.  my O2 goes down to 75% and the doctor says it makes my asthma impossible to control
I also have an allergy to dust mites
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I have a severe allergy to Pouison Ivy/Oak and I get it 2-3xs a year because I am so highly allergic I don't have to even touch the plant to get it....if someone is burning or pollen from it....
I HAVE to immediately start on 80mg of prednisone a day and stay on for a good 3 weeks and have been on for up to 9 weeks to get rid of it....every year! If prednisone is lethal, I am going to have major problems in a short few years. So far, I am just fine.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I was diagnosed with PMR (Polymyalgia Rheumatica) a year and half ago and my doctor put me on 30 mg Prednozone per day, I am now down to 5mg per day and hope to be off it in March, but it is very difficult , I still get pain and right now suffering from a swollen right hand and knuckles, which stays most of each day and gradually subsides in the evening. I have to make an appointment to see my doctor next week. Have yo heard of anything like this in the past.....................Thanks Larry
Blank
144586_tn?1284669764
I suggest you try DSMO for your PMR. Use a medical grade only and research application instructions. DSMO is an extraordinarily powerful anti-inflammatory. It can be dangerous if contaminated or applied over dirty skin.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Larry, I developed polymylogy about 9 months ago.  The doctor prescribed 20 mg/day and I am now down to 7.5.  If I reduce it to 5, my problems begin to return.  I find it hard to believe that 2.5 mg can make such a difference.  I was in bad shape before, constant pain in both shoulder, hips, both hand swelling, and I had difficultly getting out of bed, getting out of a chair.  Now I am playing golf twice a week,  I continue to try to reduce the dosage but now 7.5 is it.  I am concerned about the long term effects but now I need it to function.....P;aul
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I have same problems but on 20mg but when go down to 15mg problems come back
Blank
9744571_tn?1405621345
I was on prednisone for four years off an on , more on then off, the thing that finally has worked for me was Advair 500/50 with the combination of Spiriva and Asmanax. I still have to have neb treatments at night but I have not had to take oral steroids to help, also I have not been in the hospital for two years with these combinations. I still have chronic persistent asthma but it is much better.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I,m 36. Been continuously on steroids since i was 14. Been a patient of asthma since birth. Comes from my mothers side, hence a family disease. I was given steroids not for my asthma but for a syndrome called Churg Strauss .Actually, i was misdiagnosed with this syndrome( came to know of it 4 years ago). So all the steroid taking was really for nothing. But it sure as hell, messed up my whole life BIG TIME, in every conceivable way. Mentally, i,m a total wreck.Everything is totally ruined. My relations with people, my married life, my education, career Everything!!! At present I,m takind 7mg of prednisolone a day. Been reducing it since two years back. I was then on 12.5mg daily for 12 years. I,m doing all the tapering off of this terrible drug super slowly, otherwise i start having withdrawal effects that are unbearable. Majority of doctors I've met with have told me that I can never be off steroids. But I would do anything to be off them. They have turned my whole life upside down. Can anyone please guide me?
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I was on prednisone for a long time.  It mimics the adrenal glands so after awhile the adrenal glands stop working at all.  Without predisone I felt sick, tired all the time, almost like the flu.  No energy at all.  No resistance to colds, etc. I was miserable to be around.  I realized that I needed to "wake up" my adrenal glands and get them working again.  I found that intense exercise (even though it is hard to do when you don't feel well) gets the adrenaline flowing again.  You have to force yourself to do things you don't want to do.  Good diet is also very important.  It took weeks of feeling bad before I felt even half way normal again.  As bad as that was, I still would take prednisone again if my asthma gets out of control, but limit it to a short period of time and then taper off.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
thanks for you advice
Blank
Post a Comment
To
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Asthma Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
469720_tn?1388149949
Blank
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm-treatable... Blank
Oct 04 by Lee Kirksey, MDBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
Top Asthma & Allergy Answerers
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
evewisewoman
Toronto, ON
168348_tn?1379360675
Blank
ChitChatNine
746512_tn?1388811180
Blank
Tammy2009
Calgary, AB
144586_tn?1284669764
Blank
caregiver222