New List of Prednisone Use Long-Term
Did you know that before now, a list of long-term prednisone uses did not exist? How can that be?
The United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved prednisone in 1955. When the FDA added new requirements like side effects and which diseases it’s approved for, they “grandfathered in” prednisone. That means no drug company owns the patent or provides testing on which conditions it works for.
If no one else will, let’s create that list! Follow the instructions at the end of this article to add long-term conditions to this list of prednisone uses.
Prednisone Use Long-term versus Short-Term Use
Because prednisone causes over 150 toxic and harmful side effects, prednisone should be saved for only certain situations. Normally this means to follow the guideline, “Use the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration.” Another way to put that… only use prednisone if you absolutely must. Then only use the lowest dose that helps you.
Short-Term Prednisone Use
Doctors usually prescribe prednisone for the shortest time possible. Check out my other article about all the reasons doctors prescribe prednisone, including those short-term prednisone uses.
However, some people suffer from diseases, diagnoses, and conditions so harmful to justify using prednisone long-term. Usually this means that the condition is so dangerous, harmful, painful, or deadly that the side effects pale in comparison. Read more about balancing benefits and risks at this article I wrote.
In my case, my doctor diagnosed me with Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP). Essentially this means my doctor worried that I could bleed to death. Dying of bleeding to death > prednisone side effects? That’s what we tried for over 8 months, until I resorted to chemotherapy.
Prednisone Use Long-Term
Scientific articles define long-term prednisone as greater than three months. If you use prednisone less than three months, then that’s short-term. Several side effects increase and worsen the longer you take prednisone, and the higher the total dose (cumulative dose) you take. For example, bone loss continues to worsen as you continue to take prednisone.
Watch Dr. Megan explain what prednisone is used for long-term below!
Health Conditions Which Use Prednisone and other Corticosteroids Long-term
Generally, steroids are used for severe autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.
Type of Condition
|Allergic States||Chronic Rhinosinusitis with Nasal Polyps|
|Seasonal or perennial allergic rhinitis|
|Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (Churg-Strauss Syndrome)|
|Skin – Dermatologic Disorders||Atopic dermatitis|
|Endocrine Disorders||Primary or secondary adrenocortical (adrenal) insufficiency|
|GI – Gastrointestinal Diseases||Crohn’s disease|
|Blood – Hematologic Disorders||Immune thrombocytopenia (formerly known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura)|
|Cancer – Neoplastic Diseases||Prostate cancer (metastatic)|
|Palliative management of leukemias and lymphomas|
|Nervous System – Neurology||Duchenne muscular dystrophy|
|Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy|
|Multiple sclerosis exacerbation|
|Eye – Ophthalmic Diseases||Chorioretinitis|
|Diffuse posterior uveitis|
|Kidney – Renal Diseases||Proteinuria in lupus erythematosus|
|Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS)|
|Proteinuria in the nephrotic syndrome|
|Lung – Respiratory Disease Pulmonologists||Asthma|
|Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbation|
|Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis|
|Rheumatic Disorders||Ankylosing spondylitis|
|Giant cell arteritis|
|Rheumatoid arthritis, including juvenile rheumatoid arthritis|
|Systemic lupus erythematosus|
|Liver – Hepatology||Autoimmune hepatitis|
|Transplant||Heart, Liver, Kidney Transplants|
|Heart – Cardiology||Pericarditis|
Let’s Grow This List!
Was your long-term condition listed in this chart? If not, please contact Dr. Megan and we can add it to the list! See the list growing below…
Conditions Suggested by Prednisone Warriors:
- Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (Churg-Strauss Syndrome)
- Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)
When taking prednisone, the lowest effective dose should be prescribed. It might start out high, but the goal should be to get the dose as low as will keep your condition stable. NEVER stop taking prednisone without talking to your doctor, as there are severe withdrawal effects. Your body stops creating certain hormones (cortisol) when you take prednisone, and so in order to give your body time to kick in the hormone-making factory, the adrenal gland, you must slowly stop taking it over weeks to months.
NEVER stop taking prednisone suddenly.
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