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Memory loss from Prednisone Permanent?

Memory loss from Prednisone Permanent?

weight: 400;”>I had a prednisone warrior ask about memory loss from prednisone.

Watch now!

Memory loss from Prednisone Permanent?

Transcription autogenerated from the video above so some errors are possible.

My doctor said he would have expected my symptoms to have got better off the steroids unless they have done lasting damage – please god this is not the case?Can steroids cause permanent damage like memory loss / difficulty retaining information?

That is a really good question because one of the side effects of prednisone we’d wanna know about would be memory loss, right?


And before I can really answer this question, I have to give this disclaimer that this isn’t medical advice. This is just based on the little information shared with me. 

Memory Loss from Prednisone

Does prednisone cause memory loss or difficulty retaining information? And if so, is it permanent? Is it lasting damage? Let me read this from UpToDate online about prednisone and memory impairment.

Memory impairment has been associated with glucocorticoid use. As an example, a study of 115 patients with rheumatoid arthritis found that prednisone use was a predictor of poor cognition. Not being able to think very straight, even when controlling for depression, how the severity of their disease, and their CRP inflammation level. 

Another report found that patients treated with prednisone doses anywhere from 5-40 milligrams a day for at least one year, had a partial loss of explicit memory. 

How long does Memory Loss with Prednisone last?

One year of treatment, any range of 5-40 milligrams had some loss of explicit memory. That’s the memory of the front of your brain. Older patients were more susceptible to memory impairment with less protracted treatment. It’s more likely the older you are that this can happen.

The effect on memory began as early as three months after the initiation of therapy. People didn’t necessarily have memory loss in the first three months, but that’s when they started seeing it. 

Approximately 1% of patients may be affected by more severe and persisting cognitive disturbances beginning during glucocorticoid treatment. This has been termed steroid dementia, and it’s actually given a diagnosis of steroid dementia.

In some patients, this condition may not remit for between 1 and 11 months after discontinuing the medication. It’s severe and persisting. It doesn’t use the term permanent, and it does say it remits between 1 and 11 months after stopping the medication. 

It can happen, but usually it goes away. Usually, it’s not a permanent impairment. But while you’re taking the drug and for a while after, it is possible to have memory impairment unfortunately. That is definitely a possibility of what prednisone can do to you. 

My goal for you with prednisone is to give you the information you need so that you can decide whether the benefits of Prednisone treatment truly outweigh the risks for you. 

If you want to learn more about that, go to my website, prednisonepharmacist.com, signing off is Dr. Megan, your Prednisone pharmacist.

Prednisone Taper Chart

Receive a free Prednisone Taper Chart to help you know when to taper down in prednisone dose. This does not substitute your doctor’s prescription.

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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