Prednisone for Asthma, Prednisone for Pain, Prednisone for Everything
Here are some interesting facts and info about prednisone
Prednisone for Asthma, Prednisone for Pain, Prednisone for Ulcerative Colitis, prednisone for joint inflammation, Prednisone for MS, Prednisone for Everything. With every 10th person taking it, Prednisone is among the top-25 prescribed medications in the US. In fact, it's probably one of the medications that are prescribed for the largest number of conditions.
What Is Prednisone
The generic name for Prednisone is actually, Prednisone and Prednisolone, which are medications known as corticosteroids (brand names are Pediapred®, Orapred®, and Prelone®). In short, they are usually called steroids (as a shorter version of corticosteroids) but are totally different than those steroids that some bodybuilders take.
I’ve written more extensively about Prednisone side effects and how to taper off it properly in a recent blog post, but here’s a quick refresher:
Prednisone and Prednisolone are similar to hormones that our bodies create and are used to treat a seemingly endless number of conditions like autoimmune conditions, arthritis, lung disorders colitis, cancer, organ transplants, and more and more…
The dosage prescribed will vary from one health condition to another and can range from a single milligram daily to as much as 1250mg/day. The goal is to take Prednisone for the least amount of time possible, but in some cases, a low-dose prednisone regimen will be adopted for long-term use.
For example, rheumatologists agree that it’s better to take 5mg-7.5mg of Prednisone daily long-term vs. risking the complications of an active rheumatic disease (like rheumatoid arthritis) such as irreversible joint deformations.
As you’ve probably read in the website’s ‘about’ section, personally, I was on prednisone for 23 years, and most of the years I was taking Prednisone 5mg tablets daily. And while the list of Prednisone side effects goes on and on, I was “lucky” to have suffered only from bone density loss (resulting from calcium depletion that Prednisone causes).
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, formally, Prednisone is not categorized as an addictive drug, but if taken for long periods of time, it can cause withdrawal symptoms when trying to wean off it. To me, this sounds like Prednisone addiction…
Prednisone comes in the following forms and dosages:
· Prednisone 50mg tablet
· Prednisone 20mg tablet
· Prednisone 10mg tablet
· Prednisone 5mg tablet
· Prednisone 2.5mg tablet
· Prednisone 1mg tablet
2. Delayed-release tablets: 1mg, 2mg, 5mg
3. Oral solution: 5mg per 5mL
4. Concentrated oral solution: 5mg/1 m
Use of Prednisone for Adults
The FDA approved Prednisone as a supportive, or primary treatment for nearly 60 medical conditions, however, aside from those conditions, there are many medical conditions for which doctors will prescribe Prednisone “off-label”. That means that the medication did not receive an FDA approval to treat that specific condition, but it's still proven safe and effective.
What are recommended Prednisone dosages for different conditions?
Prednisone Dosage for Autoimmune Disorders:
Prednisone is prescribed to suppress one’s immune system and, by that, helps reduce inflammation and therefore reduce swelling and pain. During flair-ups, often, a higher dosage will be prescribed for a limited time. Steroids are beneficial with many types of rheumatic diseases (e.g., Rheumatoid Arthritis, Juvenile Arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and rheumatic carditis), MS (Multiple Sclerosis), Lupus, psoriasis, and other autoimmune conditions in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues.
*Prednisone adults’ standard dosage for autoimmune disorders: 50-60mg/day
Prednisone Dosage for Asthma:
Prednisone is used short-term in a high-dosage regimen to help reduce the swelling of airways during severe asthma attacks. Additionally, longer-term low-dose prednisone treatment is used to help control some cases of asthma that are persistent.
*Prednisone adults’ standard dosage for asthma: 40mg-80mg for short-term treatment, or 7.5mg-60mg once daily for long-term treatment.
Prednisone Dosage for IBD (inflammatory bowel disease):
Short-term high-dose short-term Prednisone treatment is used to reduce inflammation and swelling in the digestive tract for patients with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
*Prednisone adults’ standard dosage for IBD: 40mg-60mg daily.
Prednisone Dosage for Allergic Reactions:
Low-dosage Prednisone will be prescribed to treat allergic skin reactions like eczema, as well as in cases of more severe allergic reactions like food allergies or seasonal allergies. A higher dose of prednisone will be given during immune system attacks that pose a life threat like with severe allergic reactions.
*Prednisone adults’ standard dosage for allergic reactions: 5mg-60mg daily.
Prednisone Dosage for connective tissue disorders:
Osteoarthritis, gout, bursitis, and other connective tissue issues will often require a low dosage of Prednisone temporary treatment.
*Prednisone adults’ standard dosage for connective tissue disorders: 5mg-30mg daily.
Prednisone Dosage for endocrine disorders (adrenal insufficiency):
Our adrenal glands are responsible for producing the needed level of cortisol. However, when the adrenal glands won’t produce our body’s required level of cortisol, our body’s naturally-created corticosteroid, Prednisone can serve as a hormone replacement. The causes for adrenal insufficiency can result from conditions like congenital adrenal insufficiency and Addison’s disease. Long-term steroid consumption can also cause adrenal insufficiency.
*In such cases, usually, Prednisone dosages will be very low: Prednisone adults’ standard dosage for adrenal insufficiency: 2.5-7.5 mg daily.
Personally, over the course of 23 years of taking Prednisone, I was on anything between 20mg/day down to 5mg/day, with the latter being the dosage in most of my time on the medication.
Alternative to prednisone
There are some alternatives to Prednisone that can be taken alone or be paired with other medications. The most popular Prednisone alternative is a medication called Dexamethasone.
Additionally, there are NSAID (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) medications that can be used alongside Prednisone, and allow lowering of Prednisone dosage, or as complete replacements. Some popular NSAID medications are Advil, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Celebrex, Voltaren, and more. NSAIDs are popular medications in treating pain and inflammation that result from conditions like arthritis, and back pain. While many of the NSAIDs require a prescription, there are many others that are OTC.
Another family of medications that can help replace Prednisone, or reduce its dosage is called DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs). DMARDs are medications that, unlike NSAIDs, aim to treat the underline cause of a disease, rather than just treating inflammation. For example, Methotrexate and Leflunomide are DMARDs that aim to modify the progression of rheumatoid Arthritis.
Other popular DMARDs are:
Mycophenolate – popular to treat Lupus
Mercaptopurine and Azathioprine – popular to treat inflammatory bowel diseases
But let’s talk about natural Prednisone alternatives
This is a topic that’s very close to my heart, as I was Prednisone-dependent for 23 years and struggled to wean off for so many years. Just like with conventional medications, there’s no one-size-fits-all and for some, a change in nutrition, can greatly help, while for others taking various natural supplements can help.
I’ll share a few common advice and practices that have helped some people but, as mentioned, the result is very individual.
Eliminate inflammatory foods
Fatty foods like corn oil, deep-fried food, and processed food should be avoided as well as foods that include simple carbohydrates (like white rice and white flour). Refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup can also fuel chronic inflammation.
Such foods can be replaced with high-fiber plant-based foods (like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits).
Although not proven scientifically, some claim that nightshade vegetables (like tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, and more) also encourage inflammation.
Take anti-inflammatory supplements and antioxidants
Supplements will rarely really replace Prednisone, but they can be taken alongside and help fight inflammation. Antioxidant elements like carotenoids and flavonoids can help protect body tissues from damage, and by that, prevent undesired inflammatory responses from taking place.
Some other substances like turmeric, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids can also help fight inflammation by providing the building blocks of the molecules our body needs in order to counter inflammation.
Stress reduction can also help support fighting inflammation, or rather, prevent it from happening in the first place. When we are under stress, especially for the longer term, our body releases stress hormones (cortisol) and adrenaline, as well as pro-inflammatory molecules (cytokines).
While these molecules play a critical role in fighting threats and triggering inflammation-fighting cells, when these are released chronically, over time, they can cause widespread destruction.
Last but not least – Try taking CBD to help fight inflammation and support a healthy immune system
During my almost 30 years with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I tried dozens of alternative treatments and natural remedies. At most, some treatments offered very limited short-term relief. And, as stated above, while some people find such solutions effective, nothing really worked for me.
Acupuncture was an interesting experience but didn’t improve in any way the course of my disease, nor did it help with lowering my medications’ dosages.
An aggressive elimination diet left me chronically hungry and even worse, depressed, not to mention the almost 20 pounds I lost. I turned into a half-dead walking skeleton but with no relief in my condition.
Paraffin baths for my hands felt nice and warm but really offered no relief.
And the list goes on and on… I was very skeptical about anything non-conventional, and with a chronic prednisone dependency, I already accepted the fact that I will be painful for the rest of my life.
But then came CBD, well not only CBD, but rather the entire hemp plant with all its cannabinoids and naturally recurring substances (terpenes and flavonoids), and this time around it seemed to be working.
The combination of all cannabinoids and other substances creates what is called “the entourage effect”. The entourage effect creates a strong anti-inflammatory effect. In fact, the broad spectrum 2800mg CBD-rich hemp oil, which is the formulation I’ve been taking for the past 4 years, finally allowed me to completely go off Prednisone and generally support my immune system and health.
To sum things up:
Prednisone is a super popular medication and helps greatly with a long long list of medical conditions. And while it’s a lifesaver, the objective is to have it prescribed for the least possible time since its long-term side effects can be detrimental to one’s health.
There are quite a few alternatives out there, and I urge everyone on Prednisone to try those out. Some won’t work and some will work better than others.
My go-to alternative to Prednisone and to support my general health, is definitely CBD oil.
Keep on exploring alternatives and never give up!