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Prednisone side effects?

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  • Prednisone side effects?

    I recently got put on prednisone for the first time to help a severe case of poison oak. I was on vacation and had to go to urgent care. They gave me a cortisone shot and the pills, as well as recommending antihistamines. The treatment seems to have worked, I stopped oozing and itching all over the place, but as I taper off on the drug I seem to be having side effects. I wanted to check with other paleo people to see if they have seen similar things:

    - Weight gain. The scale says I gained like 3 or 4 pounds in the matter of two days. Granted its not the best scale in the world, but it still left me going WTF?? Also it *looks* like I've gained weight; right before the trip, I was proud of how well my pants were fitting me, and now those same pants are muffin-topping all over the place again.

    - Constipation. Part of that might have been from being on vacation and not getting enough veggies, but I have loaded up on them since being home and very little has moved through.

    - Acid indigestion. I have had some delightful paleo meals since being home but I've been plagued with heartburn like they have never given me before.

    - Bloated yet hungry. My stomach feels like there is a small rock lodged in it, yet I have a munchie hunger drive thats going strong. Ive been trying to appease it with nuts, fresh fruit, and club soda with a dash of lime/lemon juice, but it's had minimal effect.

    If these are just the side effects of the drug I can put up with them until I am off of it, but I wanted to make sure there might not be something else going on.
    "Since going primal, I've found that there are very few problems that cannot be solved with butter and/or bacon fat."

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  • #2
    Ahhh....prednisone. What those of us who need it regularly call "drednisone"

    -Yes - water retention is a very, very, common side effect of this drug. Once you are off it and the shot has had time to clear your system the extra weight will disappear. I find avoiding sugar and keeping carbs low very helpful in getting rid of the puffiness.

    -I have not had constipation as a side effect but never put anything past this drug- are you sure you are getting plenty of fluids?

    -Indigestion - yep, very common with the steroids. Again, it should pass as you get off of them. Acid blockers work pretty well for this if it is too much to tolerate.

    -The munchies are ridiculously bad on prednisone. I used to wake up a 2 am and all I could think about was food - brutal.

    I strongly suspect that your symptoms are from the steroids and will pass. The injection can take over a month to get out of your system. Try to stay as primal as possible and avoid stimulant like sugar and caffeine - it helps your adrenal glands to kick back in after being suppressed by the steroids.

    All that being said, I really believe that if you are concerned you should give your doctor a call. Not to be a cliche....but better safe than sorry!!
    Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )


    • #3
      I had all those. I went on a course of it in July to battle poison ivy. I hated it, but the rash was so far gone that I couldn't battle it on my own. I got very bloated. It was quick to come off though after ending the meds. It also has a tendency to compromise your immune system. My whole family had been sick with a wicked uri and I had escaped unscathed until I started the prednisone and then I got it too. It was the first time I've had anything like that, including a cold, since going primal last January so I feel confident it was the meds. Good luck and hang in there, poison oak sucks.


      • #4
        Ok, thanks, good to hear that its tracking. Yeah I guess it makes sense that such rapid weight gain would be water weight or such. I havent been drinking much, I will try that to see if it helps with the constipation.

        And yeah, I'm a biologist and have had poison oak rashes before, but this was the worst I have ever had. It was on the inside of my legs, all the way from my knees to my shins (I imagine i got brushed on one leg and then walking rubbed the oil in and all over the other leg). It hurt and oozed so bad I couldn't sleep well for two or three days until I went in. With such a bad inflammatory reaction on a paleo diet, I can only imagine how bad it would have been if I was on SAD :P

        And yes, conveniently I am going in to my regular doctor this week so I will bring the notes from the urgent care clinic and check in with him.
        "Since going primal, I've found that there are very few problems that cannot be solved with butter and/or bacon fat."

        My amusing take on paleo-blogging:

        Are you a Primal in San Francisco, or the SF Bay Area in general? Join our facebook group!


        • #5
          My son was on it was over a year - had anxiety, bad gut, weight gain and moon face. Nasty stuff. He went on it for muscular dystrophy but we stopped as side-effects not worth it. He is still over-weight and permanently in wheelchair so hard to lose weight. He has a very big appetite.


          • #6
            Get off that stuff as fast as you can. It's a hormone train wreck in a pill.


            • #7
              Originally posted by DFH View Post
              Get off that stuff as fast as you can. It's a hormone train wreck in a pill.


              • #8
                I like the above comment of 'drednisone'. Ugh, I was on it for about 9 months, I really really think it was the start of my adrenal fatigue. Horrible stuff. I have stretch marks on my thighs and rear from the fast weight gain and my emotional state could be best described as a tsunami most days...bleh. But of course, I was on it for an extended period.

                Take adrenal support supplements if you can for the next couple months. B vits and vit C are the ones that come to mind can research others from there. Stress low, sleep high, etc.
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                • #9
                  Prednisone is basically synthetic cortisol.

                  Yes, that means it's "stress hormone in a pill". Taking prednisone is bad for all the same reasons high cortisol is bad.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by J. Stanton View Post
                    Prednisone is basically synthetic cortisol.

                    Yes, that means it's "stress hormone in a pill". Taking prednisone is bad for all the same reasons high cortisol is bad.
                    That makes sense, but I would argue that it is much worse than that. Prednisone is just nasty, nasty stuff, and it does damage all over the place.

                    Additionally, drs don't help patients with the damage, either due to ignorance or negligence.

                    My weight shot up after 2 years of prednisone (for colitis) and none of the drs I saw afterwards would even pay attention when I tried to get them to step through what went wrong and why. They just wanted to give me more drugs or blame it on me. I still resent that deeply, and for good reason.


                    • #11
                      I've been on predinsone since November. I cried when the doctor said I needed to take it again as I knew the effects from before. I managed to keep the weight gain to 14 lbs this time which I was really pleased with. (I put on 28lbs the previous time I was on it and wasn't able to shift it afterwards, probably because I was calorie counting eating a high carb, low fat diet.

                      Low carb, low sugar is a godsend. I'm so glad I found this site.Conventional calorie restriction won't work with steroids because you are so Bob-damn hungry all the time.

                      A warning o the OP about coming off it too quickly. I came of it at the recommended rate in February and had a massive flare up 3 weeks later. I had to go back on and try to come off it again - again a flareup after 1 week off the drug. Went back on in April and am on a very slowly reducting dose (1mg down every fortnight). My body is tollerating this reducing dose well. You have to be very careful when you stop taking it.

                      The drug shrinks your adrenals, so if you come off it too quickly you body can't respond to or cope with stress in the normal way so you feel like crap.

                      It has horrible side effects, however this year is the first year I've felt and looked normal in a long time so I am grateful for it's benefits.
                      My photo diary of my primal diet on wordpress

                      My primal journal on MDA.


                      • #12
                        I was on Prednisone my entire senior year of high school and high doses...that was over 10 years ago...I still think I am paying for the time spent on it. And it was pure hell, I had an inoperable tumor on my eye...and had not other options. I felt like I had menstrual cramps in my entire body...I gained an obscene amount of weight and was just plain puffy for years after. Get off prednisone as quickly as you can. I have had to be on it since and refuse to take it for more than a week.


                        • #13
                          My dad is on it atm. He experiences bigger appetite; I'm not sure about the water retention, but he is showing signs of "moon face". A few weeks ago, he was retaining about 8-10 litres of water, and is now on furix (diuretics). He had a bone marrow transplant 8 months ago and has struggled with a little GVH (rejection), so that's why he's on it.

                          It can cause poor blood circulation, metabolic diseases (diabetes) and a bunch of other nasty stuff too, though, so it's a last-resort solution... it does work for pretty much anything, though!

                          Don't worry - seems like it's only very temporary for you; my dad started with 150mg (that's a huge@ss dose!). Is now down to 50, and should hopefully get on 5 or so with time... hopefully, completely off, but we'll see.


                          • #14
                            Try being on it for seventeen years and counting.


                            • #15
                              There was a woman here who was on steroids in the past and said her face was still swollen. Was that anybody here? I would like to talk to her.

                              The reason I ask is: I recently excitedly went to the DMV to get a new driver's license picture taken and to have my weight updated to reflect my 75-pound drop. I was quite taken aback when I saw the new picture right next to the old one: my face was exactly as fat as before. WTF?! Who ever heard of a petite woman losing 75 pounds and her face looking just as fat?! (My body has slimmed down considerably, however.) The *only* thing I can think of for this is the steroid injections I had in 2010 into my hips and back.

                              Color me disgusted.

                              How long before the puffy face goes down?
                              "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates