The drug we hate to love.

I think I mentioned previously that at the last appointment with my rheumatologist, prednisone was added to my list of meds.  Given the side effects people experience, I was a bit leery.

  • Sitting around in pain has wreaked havoc with the size of my waist, and I wasn’t particularly looking forward to taking a medicine known to stimulate the appetite and cause weight gain.
  • Prednisone also has a reputation for providing lots of energy – even when it’s 2 a.m. and you want to sleep.
  • Another not-so-wonderful side effect of prednisone is irritability.

Well, I’m happy to report that the prednisone hasn’t affected my appetite one bit.  I’m also happy to report that it’s provided enough pain relief that I’ve been able to sleep soundly most of the time without being awake half the night.  Two out of three isn’t so bad, right?

Unfortunately, when I first started on 20mg of prednisone, everyone I encountered started acting like idiots, saying the stupidest things and driving me up the wall.  Everyone!   Most of the time I bit my tongue, but there are a couple people still not too happy with truths I voiced.  After three days I reduced the prednisone to 15mg and only half the people I encountered were jerks.  After another three days I dropped the pred to 10mg and the world returned to normal again.  “Oh, wait,” I thought.  “Maybe this is this that irritability that’s listed with the side effects.”  Then I thought back over some of the things that had happened and decided, no, it wasn’t the pred; those people were way out of line.


Another thing that happened at my last rheum appointment was that my doctor started the appointment telling me that I should have phoned instead of just dealing with the fact that the new biologic wasn’t working for me.  Then she finished the appointment by admonishing me to keep in touch between appointments.  How very different from my previous rheum, where I was told that there would never be any reason to call between appointments (and when I did anyhow, he wouldn’t take my call).  I thought about it for a week, and concluded that it might not be a good idea to go into my next appointment without checking in by phone to report how things were going.

The result of that phone call is that my prednisone dose has now been increased back to 15mg – and wouldn’t you know it, the very day that I added that extra pill, people started acting like jerks again.  It seems my threshold for the irritability side effect is somewhere between 10-15mg.  After getting exasperated at my kids for the seventeenth time before 8 a.m., I sat them all down, apologized, and explained that one of the possible side effects of one of my medicines is irritability.  I realized that it was me, not them, and that I’d try to be extra patient, but I could sure use a little help, too.  They’ve been terrific.

All things considered, the prednisone helps enough that I’m willing to continue taking it for a while.  I just remind myself to take a deep breath and not snap at people.

A look back at my posts over the past month shows a disproportionate number of rants.  My apologies.  I’ll probably keep the posting light until the world seems a little less annoying.  In the meantime, I’ve been updating my blogroll, removing links to blogs that have gone inactive.  A few blogs that I intended to keep disappeared – no idea why – so if you notice that you’re not in my sidebar, it’s nothing personal.  Just drop me a note and I’d be happy to list your blog.

Thank you for checking in.  Wishing you a happy, pain-free week.