Friday, June 21, 2024

Can Prednisone Be Used To Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

How Much Prednisone Will I Take

About Prednisone & Rheumatoid Arthritis

The amount of prednisone your doctor prescribes will depend on your specific condition and the stage of your disease. You might get a high dose for a short time if youâre having a flare-up. Or your doctor may put you on a lower dose for what they call bridge therapy while youâre waiting for another medication to take effect. Many people take a low maintenance dose for a long time to keep inflammation levels in check.

Why Is It So Important To Taper Prednisone When You Stop Taking It

If your rheumatologist says you may be able to stop taking prednisone for rheumatoid arthritis or cut your dosage, dont be tempted to speed up the recommended weaning process. Not tapering prednisone properly can lead to adrenal insufficiency, a condition in which the body doesnt produce enough of the hormone cortisol.

The adrenal glands make a natural amount of steroids every day, and if youre on a glucocorticoid like prednisone for a long period of time, the adrenal glands may shut down or go to sleep for a little while, Dr. Tiliakos says. Tapering prednisone is an attempt to wake up your adrenal glands so they can start doing their job again.

In fact, one of the reasons doctors prescribe prednisone for rheumatoid arthritis more often than other glucocorticoids is because its available in so many dosages, which makes it easier to taper by smaller increments if necessary, he adds.

Doesnt Prednisone Have A Lot Of Side Effects

It does, though the side effects of prednisone depend on the strength of the dose and for how long you take it. Side effects of prednisone range from gastrointestinal upset and neurologic/psychiatric to ophthalmic and endocrine Taking prednisone can dramatically weaken your bones, leading to osteoporosis, may cause cravings that cause weight gain, and can increase your risk of infections.

This is why rheumatologists always try to keep patients on the lowest dose possible.

One big misconception people have is that the side effects of taking 5 or 10 mg of prednisone are as severe as those of 60 mg, Dr. Tiliakos says. While we do see certain side effects of concern in people on low doses such as osteopenia, bruising, weight gain, and gastrointestinal symptoms we have ways to mitigate those.

If youre prescribed prednisone or another glucocorticoid, your doctor will likely recommend you take certain steps to limit these side effects, such as avoiding NSAIDs and taking calcium and vitamin D to help strengthen your bones.

Read Also: What Can You Do For Dog Arthritis

Dosage: How Much Of Prednisone Should I Take

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage forms :
  • Dose depends on medical condition:
  • AdultsAt first, 5 to 60 milligrams per day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
  • ChildrenUse and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Are There Any Reasons Why I Wont Be Prescribed Steroids

Prednisone: Effects, Side Effects and How It Changed My Life Forever ...

You might not be able to start steroids if you have an infection, or if you have any wounds on your body, as steroids might delay these getting better or cover up some of your symptoms.

Steroids might affect some medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart or blood pressure problems, or mental health issues. If you have any of these conditions, the person treating you will need to make sure the steroids arent making the condition worse.

If you have systemic sclerosis, prednisolone could cause problems with your kidneys at certain doses, so you might not be able to take this type of steroid.

You wont be able to have steroid creams or gels if you have an infection that affects your skin. Some other skin problems, such as rosacea, acne and ulcers, can be made worse by steroid creams so you might not be able to take them if you have any of these conditions.

If you normally wear contact lenses, you might need to avoid wearing these while having treatment with steroid eye drops.

  • Either with or after food to prevent stomach problems.

Creams and gels

  • Usually once or twice a day for a few weeks.
  • Your doctor might suggest taking them less often but for a longer period.
  • Should only be used on affected areas of the skin.

Eye drops and ointments

  • May need to be taken regularly throughout the day.
  • Usually one drop in each eye each time you take it.

Its important that you dont stop taking steroids without speaking to the person treating you first.

Eye drops and ointments

Recommended Reading: What’s Bad For Arthritis

Are There Any Side Effects

Low dose prednisolone, taken for a few days or even a few weeks, does not normally cause any unwanted side effects.

If prednisolone is taken in high doses or for a long time certain predictable side effects can occur. Some of these improve after prednisolone is stopped. Many can be minimised by giving the lowest effective dose over the shortest possible period of time.

The effects may also be minimised by giving the medicine by injection into the joints or into a muscle.

Most common possible side effects

Less common or rare possible side effects

  • Eyes: With long-term high-dose treatment prednisolone may increase development of cataracts.
  • Other: Facial flushes, constipation and avascular necrosis can occur very rarely.

Many of the above side effects can be managed or prevented by close medical supervision and by following your doctors recommendations .

Articles On Steroids For Ra

Steroids are synthetic drugs that closely resemble cortisol, a hormone that your body produces naturally. Steroids work by decreasing inflammation and reducing the activity of the immune system. They are used to treat a variety of inflammatory diseases and conditions.

Corticosteroids are different from anabolic steroids, which some athletes use to build bigger muscles. Examples of corticosteroid medications include triamcinolone, cortisone, prednisone, and methylprednisolone.

Read Also: What Can Be Done For Arthritis In The Shoulder

Study Asked: Is There A Better Way To Control Hand Oa Pain

A small study published November 11, 2019, in The Lancet looked at the effect of low doses of prednisolone, an oral steroid, on pain and function in patients with hand osteoarthritis. Currently, there is an unmet need for effective therapies for this disease. While several therapeutic options for hand OA are available to alleviate symptoms, the efficacy of these treatments is modest at best, said the lead author, Féline Kroon, MD, a rheumatologist in training at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, in a press release.

Donât Miss: What Is Turmeric Good For Arthritis

How Long Should I Take It

Jack Stacy, MSIV: Low-dose Prednisone for Remission Induction in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Similarly, the longer youre taking prednisone, the greater risk of side effects. In fact, some of the more serious side effects you hear about with prednisonelike thinning of bones and increased risk of infectiontend to be side effects from long-term use, says Dr. Deane . Again, he suggests going into treatment with a mindset that youâll use prednisone for a short timeideally, two weeks or less.

Recommended Reading: Does Collagen Help Rheumatoid Arthritis

General Information About Steroids For Ra

Steroids are technically called corticosteroids or glucocorticoids. Theyre synthetic compounds similar to cortisol, a hormone your adrenal glands produce naturally. Until just over 20 years ago, steroids were the standard treatment for RA.

But these standards changed as the harmful effects of steroids became known and new types of drugs were developed. The current RA guidelines of the American College of Rheumatology now advise doctors to avoid systematically prescribing glucocorticoids.

However, these steroids are often needed to help a patient with symptoms before they are given DMARDs. When used in this way, the steroid treatment should be given for the shortest amount of time possible at the lowest effective dose.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica And Giant Cell Arteritis

Both polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis are treated with oral corticosteroids. Lower doses are used initially in polymyalgia, whereas higher doses, e.g. 40-50 mg/day are used in giant cell arteritis. The drugs are continued for a few weeks and then, depending on the symptoms and laboratory indices, e.g. ESR or C-reactive protein, the dose can be reduced to the lowest maintenance dose possible e.g. 5-10 mg/day. Both conditions require treatment with steroids for a period of about two years. Unfortunately, in older patients, the dramatic early relief of symptoms is complicated by a high frequency of adverse effects after prolonged corticosteroid use.

Table 1

Also Check: What Really Causes Arthritis

Read Also: How To Treat Arthritis In Foot

When Is Prednisone For Rheumatoid Arthritis Typically Prescribed

Because prednisone starts working so quickly, one of its most common uses is providing a bridge therapy for people in the early stages of RA, Dr. Tiliakos says. DMARDs take quite a while to kick in, and its not fair to have a patient struggle with their symptoms for weeks while we wait for the medication to start working, he explains.

Prednisone is also helpful for RA patients who are experiencing a severe flare, he adds: It allows you to regain control of the disease relatively quickly. Prednisone may also be prescribed to rheumatoid arthritis patients who havent responded well to DMARDs or biologics.

What Are The Rare Side Effects Of Joint Injections

How Much Prednisone To Treat Gout
  • The potential risk of a joint infection can be a direct result of the injection
  • Red flushing of the face which does not last
  • Slight swelling of the face giving it a rounded appearance
  • An increase in calcium deposited around the joint injected
  • Adults who also have diabetes may need an increased dose of insulin for a short time following a joint injection
  • Near the site of an injection of a small joint there may be a small depression in the skin where the underlying fat is affected. This can result in a slight change of skin colour
  • Pain following an injection is rare, but should be helped by paracetamol

Recommended Reading: What To Do When You Have An Arthritis Flare Up

When Should Steroid Injections Not Be Used

Steroids should not be injected when there is infection in the area to be targeted or even elsewhere in the body, because they could inhibit the natural infection-fighting immune response. Also, if a joint is already severely destroyed, injections are not likely to provide any benefit.

If someone has a potential bleeding problem or is taking anticoagulants , steroid injections may cause bleeding at the site. For these people, injections are given with caution.

Frequent steroid injections, more often than every three or four months, are not recommended because of an increased risk of weakening tissues in the treated area.

Where Do We Stand With Prednisone For Use Rheumatoid Arthritis

Some of things seem clear with this four part series on prednisone.

  • Doctors do not all use prednisone in the same way to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Modern studies show earlier, lower doses of prednisone combined with DMARDs may be beneficial to slowing disease progression as well as gaining control of RA symptoms.
  • Prednisone side effects may occur quickly in some patients or not at all in some others. Most are somewhere in between.
  • Relying upon prednisone can lead to delay of treatments meant to bring remission .

You May Like: How To Cure Rheumatoid Arthritis

Methotrexate And Folic Acid Dose Recommendations

Because of its effectiveness and established safety profile, most patients who have RA take methotrexate at some point for treatment, usually by mouth. The typical dose starts at about 5 mg to 10 mg per week. However, in cases where high-dose oral methotrexate treatment is needed, the dose can be increased to about 25 mg per week, or even higher if necessary.

For patients in whom treatment based side effects become an issue, the proper dose of methotrexate can also be given as an injection under the skin. Sometimes, simply switching the dose delivery method from an oral methotrexate tablet to a methotrexate injection is enough to help. Splitting the dose into two daily doses instead of one single dose may help as well, or you can ask your doctor about anti-nausea medications.

Also, as the University of Michigan reports that methotrexate stops the growth of rapidly dividing cells, such as embryonic, fetal, and early placenta cells. No dose of methotrexate is safe during pregnancy. In fact, doctors often use this drug as a treatment for ectopic pregnancy, a potentially dangerous condition which involves a fertilized egg attaching itself to the fallopian tubes versus the uterus, essentially terminating the fetus.

As far as folic acid is concerned, doses in the range of 5 to 10 mg per week have been shown to reduce methotrexate toxicity. Folinic acid, a healthy form of folate which doesnt require any type of enzyme conversion, can also be found in some natural foods.

What Are Corticosteroids

How to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis Part 1

Corticosteroids, or steroids, are a type of steroid hormone used to treat many types of conditions besides RA, such as asthma, Crohns disease, and multiple sclerosis. Prednisone is one of the drugs in a class of corticosteroids called glucocorticoids, which reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. When using prednisone for rheumatoid arthritis, it is typically given orally, but injections of prednisone are sometimes used in those who have nausea or have difficulty swallowing, Dr. Tiliakos says. If a patient needs to take a high dose of the drug, it may be given intravenously.

While corticosteroids are a steroid hormone, rest assured that theyre not the same as anabolic steroids, which are sometimes abused by athletes and bodybuilders to build muscle mass and improve performance. Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of male sex hormones and are generally only prescribed to boys with delayed puberty or to men with conditions linked to low testosterone.

Read Also: Does Keto Help With Arthritis

How To Take Prednisone

  • Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer’s printed information leaflet from inside the pack and be careful to follow any printed instructions you have also been given. The leaflet will give you more information about prednisone and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
  • Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how many tablets to take, as your dose will be adjusted to suit you. You may be asked to take more than one strength of tablet. It is important that you take prednisone exactly as your doctor tells you to.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
  • Continue to take prednisone tablets regularly until your doctor tells you otherwise. You may need to take them for several months, or even longer. Stopping suddenly can cause problems and your doctor may want you to reduce your dose gradually if this is necessary.

What Is Rayos Used For

The Food and Drug Administration approved prednisone as an anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive therapy for certain types of:

Prednisone can also be used to treat endocrine conditions and help with symptoms of certain types of cancer.

Verywell / Dennis Madamba

Also Check: What Oil Is Good For Arthritis

Prednisone For Arthritis: Is It Worth The Risk

Over 1.3 million Americans are living with rheumatoid arthritis , according to the Arthritis Foundation. This autoimmune disease primarily affects the joints and causes swelling, stiffness, pain, fatigue and other side effects. Many children also suffer from juvenile idiopathic arthritis , which has some of the same symptoms as rheumatoid arthritis.

Doctors often recommend prednisone to treat rheumatoid arthritis and JIA. It’s a corticosteroid drug that’s very effective at relieving the symptoms of these diseases. Many people who take prednisone report significant improvement in their arthritis. And there are several studies to back up their claims.

For instance, in a two-year study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine patients who took 10 mg of prednisone had fewer symptoms and better grip strength after six months than patients who took a placebo.

During the study the prednisone group used fewer additional therapies, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs than the placebo group. After one and two years of starting the treatment, the prednisone patients also had less joint damage on X-rays. However, five patients given prednisone and two patients given placebo developed fractures in the small bones of their backs.

Side Effects of Prednisone

The Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center lists the following conditions as side effects or prednisone:

  • A tendency to bruise easily
  • Worsening of high blood pressure, diabetes and elevated cholesterol

Reaction To The Research

The Prednisone Roller

My fatigue is by far the most annoying everyday part of life with RA, Shirley Hanover, 58, a resident of Connecticut who has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for 10 years, told Healthline.

She and Norma Harvey, 46, a resident of Ontario, Canada, who has had RA since her 20s, both would like to see a treatment for their tiredness.

In my mind, a miracle cure for rheumatoid disease involves not just the reduction of pain but also the management of fatigue. Im always so tired, Harvey told Healthline.

So is there hope for people like Hanover and Harvey?

, PhD, a researcher at KU Leuven in Belgium and an author of the study, thinks so.

The early course of the disease could provide an opportunity to manage fatigue, he said in a press release.

Experts say such a treatment is needed.

In addition to pain, profound fatigue reduces the quality of life for many people, even more than the swelling of the joints, Dr. Iain Mcinnes, president-elect of the European League Against Rheumatism, said in a press release. But, doctors often dont pay enough attention to patients fatigue.

Recommended Reading: Does Diet Affect Arthritis Pain

Popular Articles
Related news