Prednisone is a steroid used to treat a variety of diseases or conditions, especially those associated with inflammation. I nicknamed this the devil’s drug due to its terrible side effects, but I do have to say I am grateful for its existence and there are times I would have been worse off it than on it.
I encountered the following side effects while taking prednisone:
- Not sleeping – 60 mg kept me awake the majority of the night. 2-3 hours seemed to be the max amount of shut eye I could catch each night. I would wake up at 4AM, completely wired and researching anything you could think of on my phone.
- Dry Skin, particularly on my calves
- Burning skin that felt like sunburn
- Swollen Feet, ankles, and hands
- Hot flashes (I walked around outside in a t-shirt in the middle of the winter completely comfortable)
- Blood sugar spikes
- Oral Thrush that required a visit to the hospital
- Increased appetite / carb cravings
- Weight gain – though in my case, it was healthy and needed
- Moon Face (see picture)
- Sensation of water retention/bloating in my gut
- Dry/bloody noses
- Emotional numbness
- Increased heart rate (my heart rate rarely went below 100 bpm while flaring and on prednisone)
- Joint Pain in my knees that required a hospital visit
After tapering off Prednisone, I began to have a different type of joint pain that affected just about every joint in my body. My husband said I had the “old lady walk”. My ankles, hips, wrists, and finger joints were the worst. The doctors believed it related to the UC, but in my unprofessional opinion, I believe it was related to the Prednisone taper.
Me with my moon face and my sister.
A few ways I learned to cope with the side effects of Prednisone:
- A few ways I learned to cope with the side effects of Prednisone:
- Melatonin was recommended for sleep by the hospital but was only of mild help.
- Valerian Root was a great find and has potent calming and anti-anxiety affects, it was also only mildly helpful with sleep, but does wonders for stress and anxiety. I would recommend the Gaia brand – see attached photo.
- Ice helped ease joint paint
- Trazadone was my most successful sleep aid and allowed me to begin sleeping 6+ hours at night. This was recommended by my primary care physician.
- My primary care physician also recommended CeraVe Lotion which began clearing up my dry, scaling skin within the day of the first use.