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Old 05-15-2017, 01:43 PM
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Default Prednisone-- Devil or Angel, I'm not sure yet but this swelling!

I was given a five day course of prednisone from the ER yesterday for inflammation in my spine. I've gained 4lbs of what can only be water weight since YESTERDAY. To say I'm displeased is an understatement. I have four days to go (20mg tabs, three a day for those wondering). I've been told that's a high dose. Dr. Google agrees.

Anyone have experience with short-term use of this stuff and how to deal with my current state of Swell Hell? I'm hesitant to turn to diuretics because it may weaken the level of steroid in my system. But these things that looked like fingers and toes yesterday are freaking me out.
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:53 PM
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I would call your doctor immediately. Let him/her determine if you should continue and if there is a remedy for the excess of water your body seems to be holding in. I had longer treatments with similar dose and never experienced the things you describe. Short treatments have the benefit of not having to taper the damn stuff down. Prednisone can be a necessary evil for most, but for some it is only evil. Consult your doctor.
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:57 PM
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Sometimes prednisone is the only thing that will open my lungs up enough that the antibiotics will actually work...but I've never had swelling. I would call your doc and let them know and see if there's another steroid that can be used.

In the mean time, drink as much water as you possibly can!
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Old 05-15-2017, 02:01 PM
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My PCP is the least reliable source, unfortunately. Not because she's incompetent, but she's just never there. If I call today, I'll be lucky to hear back before I'm through the treatment.

Everything I've read says swelling and "moon face" are some of the top side effects, so I'm not really alarmed so much as uncomfortable. I'll try staying far away from salt this week and increasing my intake of foods known to act as diuretics. One bonus is that most people also listed increased appetite...I'm not hungry in the least! Small victories? lol

Thanks for the feedback. I'll keep a watch and if it worsens I'll probably take myself for a little eval at Urgent Care. I live in a relatively small town and graciously our Urgent Care doesn't chide us for using them as primaries.
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Old 05-15-2017, 02:03 PM
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I don't think,you want to treat yourself or listen to Dr. Google with this. Can you call the nurse and see what they recommend? You don't want to take something that might interact with what you are taking.
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Old 05-15-2017, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Sinir.Fridyrr View Post
Sometimes prednisone is the only thing that will open my lungs up enough that the antibiotics will actually work...but I've never had swelling. I would call your doc and let them know and see if there's another steroid that can be used.

In the mean time, drink as much water as you possibly can!
Yes! I'm chugging water like there's no tomorrow. If the swelling only happens at night when I'm inactive/lying flat/not drinking then that would make sense.

I'm also wondering if it's just because it's the higher dose that's triggering it. I can get through 5 days if it helps. So far, I'd say it's dropped the pain from an 8 to a 7. Fingers crossed that trend continues.
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Old 05-15-2017, 02:07 PM
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Is there something like "Ask-a-Nurse" in your area? Urgent Care is right up there with a trip to the ER as far as cost
The nurse would be ale to get a hold of a doctor asap if necessary.
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Old 05-15-2017, 02:07 PM
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I hope you feel better real soon!
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Old 05-15-2017, 02:08 PM
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I don't think,you want to treat yourself or listen to Dr. Google with this. Can you call the nurse and see what they recommend? You don't want to take something that might interact with what you are taking.
Ha! No, I wouldn't. I just wanted to see if others were experiencing it and what they had tried. The OTC diuretic was my first thought, but diluting the level of steroid in my system isn't my goal. I think I was just surprised how fast it happened. I thought this was something people experienced over a longer treatment course. But maybe I'm just sensitive to it.

I'll keep watching my fingers and toes and take myself in if it gets worse.

Thanks all!
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Old 05-15-2017, 02:11 PM
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Is there something like "Ask-a-Nurse" in your area? Urgent Care is right up there with a trip to the ER as far as cost
The nurse would be ale to get a hold of a doctor asap if necessary.
I can look, our medical center (hospital and phys group) might have one. My doctor is an independent and this just confirms my need to find someone else. I love her as a person but it's moments like this I wish she was in a group.

Urgent Care here is actually really good and praise God I finally was able to get decent health coverage a few months ago. So if that's the route I need to go, I will. They were closed yesterday or they would have been my preference.

But I will look for a number to call, as well. Good suggestion.
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Old 05-15-2017, 04:47 PM
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Update and vent--

Yayyy!
The swelling has actually come down a bit. I think it was probably from lying flat and not moving much. I'm pushing water and walking around the house. Seems to help.

Boooo!
Called the specialist I was referred to. They don't treat spinal injuries. They give me another number. Call them, they require me to see my PCP because my primary insurance doesn't require a referral but my secondary does. ER apparently not good enough. This is my PCP who takes a year to return your call. I've left a message with their desk person asking for a referral, an MRI order because the specialist won't see me without it. And after I've been seen/referred by my PCP and had my MRI, then the specialist will schedule me. Right now, they are booking after August 30th.

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Old 05-15-2017, 05:21 PM
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The type of swelling/moon face you speak of ARE long term use issues. I'd definitely find away to speak with a Dr. Keep in mind this could be a result of something other that the med and swelling and inactivity can cause another host of issues. Pls see/take to a MD
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:03 PM
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The type of swelling/moon face you speak of ARE long term use issues. I'd definitely find away to speak with a Dr. Keep in mind this could be a result of something other that the med and swelling and inactivity can cause another host of issues. Pls see/take to a MD
The inactivity is only for the last three days after my back inflamed. I'm up moving around today and I'm otherwise fine. The swelling, only on my fingers and toes, happened overnight and is nearly gone, now. Also to cover any other possibilities: my BP is fine, they checked it in the ER and I've been monitoring it here. In fact it's better than it's been in about a year of regular monitoring. No irritability, restlessness, dizziness, shortness of breath or heart racing. A little flushing after I take a dose, but it's very short-lived.

Urgent Care just down the road is my only other option so if things take a turn, I will see them. I live outside of town so I don't have easy access to be seen outside of that. Waiting to hear back from my PCP.

Btw, fiat-- I looked for an ask-a-nurse option in this area and no dice. It appears they had one for pediatric issues, but that went silent in 2013. Was worth a look though, thanks!

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Old 05-15-2017, 08:15 PM
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Sometimes your insurance has a phone number for a nurse - might check there as well. I know BC/BS in my state does.

Get ready to pee a ton. You're on a 5 day taper, so the first day, with the shock to your system, you're apt to gain the water weight. After that, the taper sets in and you'll lose it.

I had a dog on long term Pred treatment. By the time I took her off it, and I was the one to say, "stop", she was 10 lbs heavier than she is now (now she weighs a svelte 16 lbs), was peeing constantly, and the kicker for me - she couldn't walk more than 100 feet without getting bone tired. I'd carry her on our walks, stop at her favorite sniffing posts, but she was absolutely miserable. Came very close to euthanizing her, but glad I didn't as she's now 7 years later, 14 years old, and a happy camper who runs and plays and loves her life. I love watching her.

I've been on 5 day tapers before. I don't gain water weight, but I feel remarkably good the first couple of days. Then, I have an endocrine crash and feel like crap, but whatever was swelling is gone. Last time, it was a sulfa drug that caused all sorts of hell with my ears and face.
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:31 PM
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Get ready to pee a ton. You're on a 5 day taper, so the first day, with the shock to your system, you're apt to gain the water weight. After that, the taper sets in and you'll lose it.
[...]
I've been on 5 day tapers before. I don't gain water weight, but I feel remarkably good the first couple of days. Then, I have an endocrine crash and feel like crap, but whatever was swelling is gone. Last time, it was a sulfa drug that caused all sorts of hell with my ears and face.
That's exactly how this is working. Woke up with the puffiness in fingers/toes but I'm urinating like crazy now. I'm feeling better this evening, almost too energetic. I'm tempted to drop the pain point to six, but I get a strong stab every now and again. I think it's doing its job so I'll stay the course.

I will look to see if my insurance has a hotline option. Thanks!
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:39 PM
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Glad you're feeling better!

As to being energetic? Yep, that's definitely part of prednisone. I can't sleep for the 5 days whenever I have to be on it and I can not stop talking the entire time - or writing 10 page letters - or texting . . .
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:38 PM
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Glad you're feeling better!

As to being energetic? Yep, that's definitely part of prednisone. I can't sleep for the 5 days whenever I have to be on it and I can not stop talking the entire time - or writing 10 page letters - or texting . . .
Ha! I'm glad I'm not just imagining that. I was worried it would trip off a little depression, but nope. I feel great! A little puffy, but great! My former coworker would take rounds of it for MS. Whhoooo, that woman would go from 0 to 80 on the irritable-o-meter in a flat-minute and I was worried that might happen. I'm cranky enough!
Here's to four more days and fingers-crossed nothing too terrible in the way of a crash.
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