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I’m having trouble tapering the steroids. What’s going wrong?

Posted on 2 July 2020

  1. The steroids may have masked the natural pains and stiffness that everyone experiences in getting older. So when the mask comes off, the experience of several months to years may hit you in one go. This usually gets better as the body adjusts to not having the same amount of steroid.
  2. Synthetic corticosteroid therapy (prednisolone) above 15 mg for 15 days suppresses the natural production of cortisol by the adrenal glands. The longer that you may have been on steroids, the less likely it is for your adrenal gland to recover. If that is the reason for your problems, your doctor can check your cortisol levels at 9am (when your levels should be at their highest), and if they are low, that would need specialist input from either your rheumatologist or an endocrinologist (a doctor with specialist interest in hormones)
  3. Rarely, it is the third cause where your disease is refractory and just needs a constant low supply of steroids to keep it in a box. On HealthUnlocked, our online forum, you will find lots of discussion on tapering steroids.