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Sounding the Alarm about Prednisone Heart Failure

Sounding the Alarm about Prednisone Heart Failure

This article is part of a series of stories of Prednisone Warriors sharing their experience with prednisone side effects. Matthew shares this story to show how doctors may overlook prednisone side effects such as prednisone heart failure. Matthew is from the United Kingdom where they have a different healthcare system than in the USA.

Sounding the Alarm: Can Prednisone Affect Your Heart?

I think someone needs to sound the alarm on this. They dish out Prednisone here in the UK like Smarties (candy).
About 2 years ago I started developing quite severe AFib after 3 rounds of Prednisone for a chest infection, on top of Ventolin and Clennill both of which, I think, can also affect the heart.
I know my heart was OK prior to this because, interestingly, I had a heart lung test done at Harefield Hospital relating to sleep and asthma problems I had and it was A1 OK … at that time. Fast forward 2 months later, and 3 courses of Prednisone later I developed stand-alone AFib (paroxysmal).
The doctors and cardiologists here in the UK seemed to be completely unaware of the impact of Prednisone – or they choose to ignore it, or they don’t make the connection.
The way they treat cardiac patients is rough, and it’s very much a culture of ‘blaming the patient’ due to lifestyle, or genetics, or statistics, demographics, or age and so on rather than admitting they don’t know what to do about it.

Prednisone Causing Heart Failure

Either way, I would much rather have a chesty cough in the future than heart failure which has kind of ruined my life.
Also, I would much rather be treated with natural methods like the rice diet and the McDougall approach.
Many thanks,


Can Prednisone Cause Irregular Heartbeat?

The answer is YES. Prednisone can cause irregular heartbeat, arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation (A fib), heart failure (CHF), and other heart conditions. In fact, prednisone use is associated with a 2.56 times greater risk of heart diseases than if you weren’t taking prednisone.

Doctors May Misdiagnose Prednisone Side Effects

I agree with Matthew. Many doctors do not suspect prednisone could be the cause of what their patient is struggling with.

I can understand why the doctors don’t suspect prednisone. It is often prescribed when a person is very sick, and many other issues could be contributing to their health challenges.

In addition, prednisone side effects are not very well documented in typical drug lists. It’s possible a doctor could check one side effect list and the patient’s side effect isn’t even listed! Had they checked a different list, it may have shown up.

The problem is a huge lack of research documented about prednisone. Since prednisone is such an old drug, no Pharma company ever did the research they now require of newer drugs to find out specific side effects and their incidence.

Research Shows Mismatch Between Doctor and Patient Side Effect Perception

Brand new research shows this in sharp relief. The researchers studied children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). These children’s parents reported side effects to treatment 67% of the time within one year of diagnosis. That’s in sharp contrast with the doctors, who only reported side effects (actionable adverse events) 36% of the time.

Parents report that about two-thirds of children with JIA demonstrate drug side effects that impact their quality of life within 1 year of diagnosis, according to data derived from Chédeville G, et al. Arthritis Care Res. 2021;doi:10.1002/acr.24610.

This shows that you need to be your own advocate for letting your doctor know that you are suffering side effects to prednisone. They might not even suspect it being prednisone, even though it often is.

Is it a Prednisone Side Effect or Not?

Finally, if you are wondering if what you are suffering is a prednisone side effect, check out my searchable Ultimate List of Prednisone Side Effects. You can search it for both the medical terminology or the common name of what you are feeling.

Do you have a Prednisone Warrior story you want to share?

Contact Dr. Megan and we can feature it!

Read more Prednisone Warrior Stories to find out how they coped with prednisone.

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