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Date: 26.05.2007
From: Tracy

Subject: Prednisolone Side Effects Questions

I have been on this drug for three weeks now and currently on 50mg daily.

Having been very ill, I seem to have lost condition in my hair and nails - could this be the drug causing it?

My long hair is usually normal - slightly dry, but is now like straw and snaps easily when I brush it :(

Nails flaking all at the tips too and very bendy.

Also, I lost 13lbs when I was taken into hospital on the flare up of this condition (polymyalgia rhuematica and temporal arteritis) and since being on this steroid, I have noticed that my face is starting to swell and I am beginning to look like a hamster with fat cheeks lol.

Also have put back on about 6lbs over the last week alone!!!

Not sure if the weight gained is actual fat or just fluid retention? I hardly eat very much, but not moving around as much as normal may have a factor in it too?

Anyone had similar rapid weight gain? Does it come off easily once steroids are removed?

I am slightly overweight anyway, so a few pounds won't make much difference at the moment, but I am worried that if I increase by 6lbs every week whilst on steroids, that I may end up looking like a balloon! ;o)

Oh and one last thing - I seem to be having a lot of hot sweats on this drug - has anyone got any tips to beat them? They are exhausting and my hair and neck just burn up.


Thanks


Tracy
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Date: 26.05.2007
From: Lin williams

Subject: Re: Prednisolone Side Effects Questions

Tracy,

It's Lin again, reading your side effects of the prednisolone, I suffer identical side effects with the methotrexate, my hair is falling out in patches, my fingernails and toenails are falling off and I have gained at least 2 stone in the yr that I have been taking it and I am left with this awful copper taste in my mouth. Until 4 weeks ago my dosage was 22.5mg. I saw my GP and she told me that I was being poisoned so my dose has now been reduced to 17.5mg but the side effects are still going on so I will have to come off methotrexate altogether.

As for the hot sweats, yes I do get them but i'm not sure if its due to my HRT funning low. Once again either speak to your GP or the clinic that you attend, there may be another drug they can give you.
Good Luck
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Date: 29.05.2007
From: Lin

Subject: Re: Prednisolone Side Effects Questions

Hi Tracy,

Hope you had a good bank holiday weekend. Hope you are feeling ok.

Write soon to let me know how you are doing

Lin
Bristol
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Date: 27.06.2007
From: lynda

Subject: Re: Prednisolone Side Effects Questions

Hi Tracy,

My name is Lynda age 46 "1st post here", I have had JRA/RA for 30 years and am on Predisone 5mg, Orencia Infusion once month and Methotrexate 15mg dose weekly. I see an RA Spec reguarly.
I have taken predisone for about 8 years, on higher doses typically it does make you puff up in the face and gain a bit, retain fluid, have hot flash maybe so due to the "steroid" effect on us as women as it effects our hormone balance. :(
I myself have taken highest dose no more than 20 mg per day in which case I retained fluid more so on knees and still have that because bad flare this year due to all our rain "Central TX" Mold counts, other side effects on higher dose, hot flash /sweats, some weight gain "3-5 fluctuate", some hair thinning, nails ok but I am now down to 5mg so some of those things are gradually normalizing. Your dose is mighty high, I do feel for you.

Hi Lin, I have been on Methotrexate only 3 doses so far and do not plan to stay on that long, am having some hair loss,its a hard older class of treatment, I did read online that safer dose was 5-15mg, I'd be careful on that higher dose, that is poison, especially to the liver, after 2 months of being sick, just got my liver back to normal from too much medications but had to indure a niddle biopsy 1st OUCH.
So far...I think the Orencia Infusuin is helping, hard to say due to our climent here right now but its incouraging to possibly be able to come off of Prednisone and Methotrexate.
Did descover that my RA basically vanished while in Vegas for 5 days... "dryer region" may be my answer one day....mercy. I may not find my way back to this forum, just came strait over to posts, didn't sign up yet so I hope the information is helpful and things get better.
:)
Lynda
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Date: 29.06.2007
From: Lin

Subject: Re: Prednisolone Side Effects Questions

Hi Lynda

Thanks for the info, unfotunately although my dose has now been lowered to 17.5mg I am still losing my hair, although my nails are recovering (just). Still have a really strong taste of copper in my mouth which my GP doesn't reckon will go away. I have made an urgent appointment with the RA Clinic and I have appointment on 8th August 07. My flare ups are really bad and extremely painful at the moment, I cant move my hands very well and my knees are twice the size they should be. Every bone in my body feels as though it has a bruise on it, I am in so much pain I'm not sure what to do, (painkillers are not helping). I am being sick now every day even though I now take the folic acid 6 days a week but not on the day I take the methatrexate. (I really am at my wits ends) if there was a hole in the ground, at moment I would jump in it, curl up in a ball and go to sleep until it's all subsided, but unfortunately as a full time carer for my husband I can't (finding it really hard to cope).

I am due to have my blood tests next week and I pretty sure that all my levels will be reasonably high, also have appointment with my GP on Wednesday. I really want to come off the methatrexate now, it really isn't doing me any good and have already been told that i am being poisoned, that's why my dose has been lowered from 22.5mg to 17.5mg. I would rather have the monthly steroid injections than feel like this any longer.

Do you think there is light at the end of the tunnel or is it just going to get worse.

Look forward to anyone than can give me any words of encouragement

Lin
Bristol
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Date: 30.06.2007
From: Trina

Subject: Re: Prednisolone Side Effects Questions

Hi Lin,

Sounds like you are having a really tough time. You may well qualify for anti-TNF medication as you have tried Methatrexate and have not found it works well enough to keep your symptoms under control. The reason I suggest this is that I had a similar (ish) time to you and then went on Humira (one of the anti-TNF medications) and it was like a switch! Within one week I felt better than I had for years and I have been able to go back to work and am more mobile than I've ever been since I got RA at 19 (I'm 48 now).

The medication is restricted as it is so expensive but by the sounds of it you may well qualify. In my experience you are unlikely to be offered it if you don't ask for it so next time you see your GP or your consultant ask about giving it a go. Only consultants can prescribe it but your GP could back up your application if they think your arthritis isn't under control.

There is loads of information about anti-TNF medication on the internet so it may be worth having a look.

Best of luck with every thing.
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Date: 30.06.2007
From: Lin

Subject: Re: Prednisolone Side Effects Questions

Hi Trina,

I made an emergency appointment with my GP yesterday, he has advised me to stop taking the methatrexate for 3 weeks, he has also given me some anti-sickness pills and a full course of antibiotics to take once the sickness has subsided. Only being only 17.5mg of methatrexate means that I am having really painful flare-ups but when I was on 22.5mg it was great for the joints and pain wise, but it was poisoning me.

I still have the most foul taste of copper in my mouth no matter how many times a day I clean my teeth (hopefully this will subside by stopping the meth). Generally feel really down and in a lot of pain at the moment. (wet weather really not helping either).

Please could you tell me what anti-TNF is and I had previously tried a treatment prior to the methatrexate but that also made me extremely sick.

Look forward to hearing from you

Lin
Bristol
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Date: 02.07.2007
From: Trina

Subject: Re: Prednisolone Side Effects Questions

Hi Lin,

Here is some information about the anti-TNF drug I am on. I know several people who are on one of the three Anti-TNF drugs and most of us have done well on them. They don't work for everyone but if you have tried other treatments that haven't worked for you they are definately an option to try.

Let us know how you get on...

Trina


DEPARTMENT OF RHEUMATOLOGY - The Dudley Group of Hospitals (NHS Trust)

PATIENT INFORMATION LEAFLET
Humira (Adalimumab)

What is Humira?
Humira is a new type of medication that has recently become available for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is in the group of drugs called AntiTumor Necrosis Factor (AntiTnf). This medication has been proven to greatly reduce the signs and symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

How will I take Humira?
Humira is given as a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection once every fortnight.

How long will it take for Humira to work?
Most people notice a response fairly quickly, often within the first two weeks of treatment. Full effect of the drug can take up to 3 months.

Can I inject myself?
Most patients choose to give their own injections or get a carer or partner to inject them; your doctor or nurse will provide further information and training on how to do this.

Will I have side effects?
All medicines can cause side effects, although most patients will never experience any. The most common side effects include mild reaction at the injection site. Itching, soreness, redness, swelling or pain around the injection site is the most common, this reaction is mild and usually settles down. If you have a history of recurring infection or an underlying condition, which may put you more at risk of infection, for example Diabetes, inform both your doctor and Rheumatologist. Other mild side effects that you may experience include headache, runny nose, rash, upset and painful stomach, diarrhoea or increased cough. It is always advisable to advice your doctor or nurse of any side effects however mild they may be.

Do I need any special tests while receiving Humira?
There are no specific blood tests required whilst you are on Humira but you will need to attend regular hospital appointments to ensure that you are responding without developing any side effects. Your doctor may take blood samples as part of your routine check up these are normally done every 4 weeks.

Can I take other medicines with Humira?
Although no specific interactions have been noted with Humira to date, you should tell your doctor about any other medications that you are taking, including over the counter preparations.

Can I receive Humira if I am planning to start a family?
You should take contraceptive precautions whilst receiving this treatment. It is recommended that you stop taking Humira at least 6 months prior to conceiving. Women who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, and those who are breastfeeding, should not receive Humira.

Can I drink alcohol whilst receiving Humira?
It is recommended that you adhere to the national guidelines for alcohol consumption.

Do I need to take any other precautions?
It is recommended that you have a Pneumonia Vaccine prior to starting Humira this is then repeated between 5 - 10
years. It is also advisable to have an annual Flu Jab. You should avoid live vaccines; these include polio and Rubella (German measles) vaccines. Always let your doctor know that you are receiving anti-TNF medication before having a vaccination.

This leaflet has been produced by the Dudley Rheumatology department. If you have any worries or queries about your medication contact the Rheumatology Helpline on 01384 244789 or your pharmacist.

Document Details
Author Steph Mole
Department Rheumatology
Document Title Adalimumab (Humira)
Version 1.0
Date of Creation June 2005
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Date: 02.07.2007
From: Lin

Subject: Re: Prednisolone Side Effects Questions

Hi Trina,

Thanks for the info, due to see RA clinic in August so I will mention the above to them and see what they say.

Will keep informed of any progress.

Lin
Bristol
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Date: 04.07.2007
From: Lin

Subject: Re: Prednisolone Side Effects Questions

Hi Trina,

I had to have my routine blood test done on Monday. I have today received a call from my GP to say that my liver function is through the roof at 186 and my platelet count is down to 202. I have to stop taking methatrexate altogether as I now have a mild form of hepatitis which hopefully will go away. I am seeing my GP again on Friday of this week and have to have more blood tests. If my results are still quite high, I will be referred to a specialist urgently, so I will keep you posted. (really stressed and worried at the moment)

Lin
Bristol
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Date: 26.07.2007
From: Donna Plymouth

Subject: Methatrexate in childrens arthritis/lupus

I am just wondering whether there are any other parents of children who are taking this drug. My daughter began this week by injection, and although we did ask the nurse questions, still not clear enough and its good to hear from other people in the same boat. I see from the information I have obtained that side effects are hair loss, nausea etc and obviously her bloods may/not be effected. Look forward to hearing from anyone.
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