Rheumatoid Arthritis and prednisone – there is no cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Prednisone is NOT a cure for Rheumatoid arthritis.

There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis.  There are treatments.  There are ways to manage the disease.  There are therapies to manage the pain.  There is no cure.

Recently I’ve been posting on my personal page about the physically active things I’ve been doing.  Things like running.  Doing a Step class.  Hitting the gym often, sometimes doing two classes a day.  I’ve been posting this stuff because it honestly makes me so happy to be able to do these things!  It is bliss!  It is as close to normal as I have felt in five years.  I haven’t had a knock-me-on-my-butt-full-body-mega-flare in nearly three weeks.

That is the longest I have gone without a mega flare.  I’ve had twinges.  I’ve had aches.  I’ve had one or two moderate pain days.  But I haven’t had a severe pain day where I can’t get up off the couch.

In five years that has never happened before.

So I think it’s understandable that I’m feeling a bit of euphoria about my current physical state.  I know it can’t last…I am tapering down on the prednisone and with each milligram less, I feel the pain increasing.  I know what is waiting for me when I am off prednisone, and so I am making the most of this time.

The interesting thing is the comments I have been getting from people.  Some of whom should know better.  Some of whom are genuinely happy, if misguided.  Some of whom have darker motives.

People keep telling me how happy they are that I am cured.

*dumbstruck silence*

I am NOT cured.  Prednisone is NOT a cure.  It is a reprieve.  A pain holiday.  A short, and very necesary break from the pain, stiffness and fatigue of rheumatoid arthritis.

It is not a cure.

Prednisone means I can run and do step classes.  It also gives me a resting heart rate of about 95 bpm, anxiety, insomnia, and shoots my blood pressure too high.  Long term it will rot my bones and give me osteoporosis.  It will mess with my blood sugar levels and cause diabetes.  It causes cushings syndrome.  It can cause depression and other psychiatric symptoms.  The way my doctor put it was pretty succinct…’every bad thing a drug can do to a body, prednisone will do’. But when it also takes severe pain down to mild pain, and allows me to live a relatively normal life, it is oh so easy to forget that.  It is oh so tempting to just forget that.

Anyone who has a moderate to severe form of inflammatory arthritis has probably been on prednisone at some point.  It’s often used to get a bad flare under control.  It’s also used long term, but this is a last resort, for those that don’t respond to anything else.

So far that has been me – prednisone is the only thing that can get me close to normal.  I am on a bunch of other drugs.  Most notably methotrexate…I’m waiting for that to work.  I’m only just at a therapeutic dose now, however.  So IF it helps, I might start to feel some improvements in about 6 weeks.  If it helps.

It’s all so slow.  In the meantime, I need some prednisone to get me through a very tough patch.  I have been in pain for five years.  I need a holiday.

I am not cured.

7 COMMENTS

  1. If it only took prednisone to cure rheumatoid arthritis don’t they think that this infernal disease would have been eradicated? Are there seriously people out there that are that senseless?

    So glad you were able to have a pain holiday and enjoy some near “normal” days!

    • Thanks Claudia – it was fun!

      I think people just generally have very short attention spans for things that don’t directly affect them. And not a lot of desire to learn. A little more empathy and a few less snap judgements would sure make the world a better place!

      Arthritic chick signature

  2. Boy, I’m with you on the struggle with prednisone! I, too, have recently been forced back to it while my doctor tries to find the right cocktail of drugs. I’m taking 10 mg a day and I’ve gained more pounds than I care to admit. I’m with you, if it helps me to keep moving, I’m going to have to struggle with the side effects for the time being. Thanks for sharing your struggle – it helps me to know that I’m not alone!

    • You’re definately not alone…nice to have you here. Good luck with the prednisone – hopefully soon you’ll find the combination of other drugs that will allow you to get off it. You will get there 🙂

      Arthritic chick signature

  3. I have been dealing with RA for about 8 years now. I did prednisone a couple times, but it is definitely not a cure. I got introduced to youngevity about 3 years ago, and Dr. Wallach says it a simple matter of giving the body the “90 essential nutrients” it needs and it will heal itself. He says the majority of all diseases can be linked to a simple mineral deficiency. I started on his mineral supplements and I have been pain free for 3 years now!

  4. I’ve being with prednisone for 10 years. Now I’m on a 10 mg daily dose. The thing that kills my pain is also the thing that is killing me softly. I’ve got kidney stones because of the Calcium+vitamin D and folic acid pills and induced osteoporosis because of the prednisone treatment. I’ve been under metotrexate 15 mg a week for more than a year and no positive results at all. I’ve been with salosopiring for several years and it affected my liver function. Now I should start with etanercept to put under control my desease and alendronate to stop the osteporosis ramping issue.

    I do recomend to people wirth Rheumatoid arthritis not to stop taking prednisone… but, avoid taking more than 2 mg daily. Once you get to 5 mg daily, you’ll face a dark rotten future. Take some sunbath every morning before 9 am to let the body sinthetize vitamin D3 and have at leat 2 dinner spoon cod fish oil and omega 3 products. It certainly won’t have you living a normal life, but at least surviving daily.

    Let’s hope something will come in some years with cell stem treatments to cope with our inner evil.

  5. I too, have RA and do best when taking prednisone. I have taken methotrexate but could not tolerate that so the doctor has me with etanercept, but without the prednisone I am swelling and hurting and its only been a week since I tapered off. It is such a dilemma for us: pain now or more pain later!

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