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What I Wish I’d Known Before Taking Prednisone

What I Wish I’d Known Before Taking Prednisone

I asked thousands of Prednisone Warriors what they wished they’d known about prednisone before they took it. Hundreds of responses showed the immense suffering from prednisone side effects. I compiled the data and summarized the top 10 reasons in this article.

In getting the responses I have grouped them into main categories of Prednisone Side Effects. One person’s response could be included multiple times. So, I will rank them from 10 to 1.

Top 10 Things People Wish They’d Known About Prednisone Side Effects:

10. Insomnia

So many people wished they’d known that taking Prednisone affects their sleep and most of the time causing insomnia. Insomnia from prednisone is awful!  And I personally experienced it. I wished that I could just get the rest that I needed that time. The fact that I only knew that it would heal me if I start taking prednisone. One day, I was taking it and was also recovering from chemotherapy. I was trying to take a nap after putting my toddler to sleep. I just stared at the ceiling and still couldn’t sleep even though, I was completely exhausted!  They say “Wired and Tired”–the complete misery while on prednisone.

Insomnia while on Prednisone

weight: 400;”>“Weight gain and moon face. Sleepless nights and frequent urination throughout the night.” 

You might be wondering “Why Prednisone would do it to you?” The answer is Prednisone mimics the hormone cortisol in your body. Cortisol is a miracle hormone and it saves us from emergencies. It keeps us safe from terrible things that could happen when our ancestors are chased by tigers. It is there to help them cope and help them find a way to escape. So, Prednisone keeps you awake! It is there interfering with your sleeping rhythms.  Even 1 dose can ultimately ruin your cascade; interfering with your ability to sleep restfully at night.

9. Diabetes

While on Prednisone all you want is sugary-deliciousness! All you can handle is to eat more and more of it. This is another on our lists. Prednisone causes diabetes and makes you gain weight. People wish they’d known that prednisone is a glucocorticoid. That means that it’s interfering with the metabolism of glucose, your body’s sugar, the way your body gives food into each cells. This little molecule helps you used up those delicious food that you ate. You can’t really eat the way you used to because Prednisone makes your blood sugar go sky-high which makes you hungry which interferes with your melatonin. They’re all messed up!

Sugary cravings while on Prednisone

“The proper diet and nutrients to make me come off them healthy!!!”

That causes you to gain weight and get the moon face and feel awful or hungry. You just feel terrible. There’s one person said that

“How I wished I’d known to have a bigger appetite, gain weight along with having moon face and insomnia”

Those all are just vicious cycle because if you didn’t get enough sleep; the hormones that make you feel full didn’t get to happen that triggers hunger and your blood sugar goes up and will result to weight gain along with the Moon Face. And there’s another one said that

“How I wish I’d known the proper diet and nutrients to make me come off them healthy”

Wouldn’t it be nice to know that? What is the best thing to do about it?

You need to know that Carbs are the enemy! You should closely monitor your diet. No salt, no sugar, no caffeine, no high fat. Pretty much just eat lettuce and you will be fine. With proper diet and nutrients, you are also making yourself healthy and lessening the possibility of getting this.

8.  Hair Loss & Skin

So, I took high doses of Prednisone for 9 months, and how I wish I have known these things right before I started it. I am a pharmacist, I go to school and read some textbooks about it but I really don’t know how it felt. It wasn’t fun because you will be also experiencing hot flushes, bright red cheeks, hair loss, and a lot more. It is really terrible! It’s like a middle-aged woman going thru menopause in my early 30’s.

It makes you feel too old changes your appearance as well.  You look in the mirror and be like “Who’s this person? It doesn’t look like me?!”

It destroyed my skin. My hair wasn’t at its best, I’d lose between  (possibly more 1/4-1/2 hair while on the Devil’sTic Tac. Every wash was chumps fall out!

Hair Loss while on Prednisone

“That I’d lose between (possibly more) 1/4 – 1/2 hair while on the Devil’s Tic Tac. Every wash clumps would fall out.

7. Moon Face

I had Moon Face when I was on prednisone and I couldn’t see myself, the Megan I knew. My face was round, got red flushes, eyebags that get dipper every day because I didn’t get enough sleep! Prednisone interferes appearance as well. Based on my survey, a lot of respondents included this which they wish they’d known and same as me they’re feeling it to their self too. They feel like a different person even their mood changes too. But there is hope!

How Long Does it Take for Moon Face to Go Away?

It took a long time to be myself again. It took 9 months which is not what I am expecting. I thought I was gonna be on prednisone for a few days. That there’s no way I would have the moon face and I’d be done but it wasn’t like that. Prednisone doesn’t usually cause moon face in just 10 days. It happened to me  9 months later. I thought that I would be it for 44 years and counting, that it will give me a normal life but it also gave me a fat torso, skinny legs, cataracts, stretch marks, thin skin, moon face, bags under my eyes, humpback and achy bones.

Whoopee! So, again Moon Face is the symptom of prednisone mimicking the cortisol that hormone in your body, and the combination of all makes the fat go weird. It does go away as the dose goes down.


Things in the brain that makes you somebody else is taking you over! Your emotion, mood, and mental health are affected. But it is not you, it’s the drug doing it.  So, this somebody said on the survey I conducted ” Wish I’d known that you are a completely different person while one the drug. The DEVIL drug itself.  It’s horrific! It changes my personality along with its beautiful Side Effects”. People described irritability, rage, anger, emotional changes, a lack of joy, and tiredness.

Prednisone famously causes “Roid Rage” because it is a steroid and it makes you feel uncontrollably angry at that moment from when you could normally tolerate it to from a little angry to oh my gosh! I’m exploding in anger so fast. And sometimes it so awful that they need to be hospitalized or need transcription drugs or even electric compulsive therapy but again it caused by the drug. You’re not going crazy the drug is just causing you to suffer those side effects and you need to be able to cope with that.

Mood Swings while on prednisone

How long does it last after taking Prednisone? Some people after they stop taking the prednisone lasts longer like a couple of weeks, months, or even a year while some are just gone within a snap. Some even have Dementia and that usually goes away but sometimes it doesn’t. Prednisone causes so many complications or so many side effects!

5. Long Term Consequences

Prednisone is a steroid. It’s a drug that interferes with your normal hormone which normally secreting cortisol with yourself instead of prednisone and it just cut off your normal secretion. One of the things that cortisol does when really high and prednisone does really really high! As it weighs away your muscle and makes them smaller and can even cause pain. This person loss so much muscle mass that she needs to use a mobility chair or wheelchair.

Prednisone can really do weird things. Another person said that it can cause gastritis that causes stomach pain problems or diarrhea. Other people even got holes in their gut, they have ulcers or even cataracts because of prednisone.  This is so awful. Prednisone can really cause so many terrible things but if know about them there’s a lot of things that you can do. There are a lot of things that you can do to prevent the long term consequences. It can do a lot of damage but it is reversible.

steroid while on prednisone

4. Tapering

People wish they’d known about tapering. Tapering means going from High dose and slowly going to low dose until your totally off.  People didn’t know that they need to keep taking it until it tapered off.  It’s one of the important things that you should know because you can’t just suddenly stop taking it.  You don’t want to go cold turkey. There’s one person who shared “I wish I’d known that it would change my life and I would be at it for so long 10 years and counting”  Again, most people didn’t know that it is messing with the cortisol system and causes your adrenal system, your “Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal System or HPA Axis.” Usually, people recover. Usually, it wakes up and comebacks together and recover with no problem.

HPA axis, Prednisone

The reason that you need to taper is that to give the whole system time to kick back in the gear, to do its job back again.  Get this taper chart which I made so you can work closely with your Doctor and to find a tapering schedule that speed that works for you.

3. Withdrawals

Most people don’t suffer terrible withdrawals even if they’re slowly tapering off. Nobody mentioned about Prednisone Withdrawals and I have talked to thousands of people who have gone through prednisone withdrawals and their description is really heartbreaking. Knowing what they’ve gone through is just terrible. I  went through withdrawal as well and it is indeed miserable but only for a few days! Some of us experienced longer and is painful. They even described it as 1000 worst than the treatment itself!

2. Osteoporosis

One of the most miserable side effects that can happen to you is osteoporosis. It can cause permanent damage to your bone. It can withdraw and unleash calcium bone density. Your hunch over, and pressure in your spine with broken hips and shoulder as well as rotting teeth. It comes with a cost! People were surprised that was the price that they’re gonna pay with prednisone. Prednisone is a miracle drug and it saved my life. Prednisone causes osteoporosis and osteonecrosis. People in their 30s might need a hip replacement!

There’s one that shared

“I wish I’d known that it would cause my hips to disintegrate and will left in a wheelchair”

“I wish I’d known that it would make my bone so thin that I end up with a fracture in my vertebrate”

All of these happened because of prednisone. You can’t prevent them perfectly but the doctors who prescribed the most will recommend you to take Calcium and Vitamin D if you are taking at least 7.5 milligrams of prednisone or greater for 3 months and longer. When I was taking prednisone, I would make sure to give back what it’s stealing in my body. Calcium and Vitamin D aren’t the only nutrients its stealing it’s ten of them.

1.Weight Gain

Prednisone causes weight gain. Some people won’t get it but 70% will do! The higher the dose the higher the pounds.  We have already tackled the other side effects of this from insomnia, hair loss, mood swings, and anxiety. All of these are just temporary, everything goes back to normal though there are few irreversible side effects yes, there is hope!  But it won’t just go away magically,  so while you’re on it eat responsibly or cut off those refined sugars.

The #1 thing to know before you take prednisone is that are the side effects are worth it. Is it gonna save your life like how it saved mine?

Now, I am done sharing with you the Top 10 Side effects that you are experiencing while on prednisone. And there’s one thing that I think all of us should take as well together. I have googled and searched what I need while on prednisone. Nobody had an answer and knowing all the nutrients that have been depleted because of prednisone, I came up of making a supplement that will help our everyday battle. This will also help to lessen and a low chance of getting long-term consequences while on this medication.

I created the Nutranize® Zone™ a dietary supplement, especially for people on prednisone, because it gives back the nutrients that prednisone depletes. Nutrient depletion is a huge risk, prednisone stealing calcium. When that happens, that leads to glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis. Nobody wants osteoporosis. Prednisone’s stealing chromium. When chromium’s low, that leads to blood sugar regulation, which leads to diabetes. Nobody wants to gain weight and have diabetes. This supplement also contains the other  10 nutrients which prednisone takes and I used the best ingredients that will not only help you to sleep peacefully at night it will also keep you to have stable blood sugar, makes you less hungry which will result in not gaining weight!

Nutranize supplement for Prednisone

Visit my Official Store to learn more about Nutranize Zone Nutranize.com.

And so when you give back the nutrients that prednisone steals, you are putting this balance in your favor. And so that can help you decide whether the balance benefits greater than risks. You can find it at nutranize.com.

balance in prednisone with nutranize

You may watch my video playlist with a video for each of the Top 10 Things People Wish They’d Known Before Taking Prednisone by clicking it below. I also made a checklist for you! If you’re on Prednisone get the help that you need. There is help and hope available. I am committed to helping you not just to survive but also thrive while on prednisone.

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Read more about Prednisone Side Effects:

Dr. Megan Milne, PharmD, BCACP

Dr. Megan Milne, PharmD, BCACP, is an award-winning clinical pharmacist board certified in the types of conditions people take prednisone for. Dr. Megan had to take prednisone herself for an autoimmune condition so understands what it feels like to suffer prednisone side effects and made it her mission to counteract them as the Prednisone Pharmacist.

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