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Prednisone Helped Me Clean My House

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I recently was prescribed prednisone (a corticosteroid) for a nasty poison ivy rash I contracted from my garden, my dog or one of my children. I have horrible allergies and know to avoid contact with anything looking remotely like poison ivy, so the fact I got it without seeing it had me stumped.

I had never been on prednisone before, and had heard from the doctor about the side effects which include irritability, weight gain, night-sweats and low-potassium, among others. I didn’t experience any of those (thank goodness, I’m trying to lose weight, not gain weight). I experienced elevated mood and increased productivity. I wondered why prednisone isn’t prescribed for mood disorders, as I felt better on prednisone than I had felt during four months of taking Prozac® a few years ago.

The morning after I started taking prednisone, I woke up with a crazy urge to go running. I knew something was going on, because I never “feel” like going running. While on the prescription, I cleaned my whole house, did projects I had been putting off, was particularly cheery, and was ultra-productive at work.

I was curious about my reaction to prednisone, especially since I heard from friends and relatives who had experienced adverse reactions to it. They talked about the irritability, headaches, gaining weight, and having thyroid issues. I wanted to roll in poison ivy to be able to stay on this seemingly wonder drug.

It’s a steroid, but not like anabolic steroids which have received a bad name from use and abuse by body builders. Corticosteroids are drugs that are closely related to cortisol, hormones produced by the adrenal gland. Prednisone is typically prescribed for inflammatory conditions, like my acute allergy to urushiol inducing contact dermatitis, and everything from MS to lupus and cancer, and for preventing body organ transplant rejection. It works by suppressing the body’s immune response and reduces swelling and allergic-type reactions.

So in my case, the drug was prescribed to halt my allergic reaction to urushiol, the organic oil toxin found in poison ivy. I was told by the doctor at Urgent care that the blisters from the poison ivy could continue to develop for up to three weeks after initial contact and could take even longer to heal.

Since prednisone could cause a crash-type reaction when stopping the medication, the doctor prescribed on a “weaning” schedule (five pills the first two days, four pills the second two days, and so on until I took one pill for two days, then stopped), to try and limit crashing.

A friend who is a doctor told me, “It is a steroid so long term complications include bone thinning, weight gain, gastrointestinal upset, and hypercortisolism, which may lead to Cushing's syndrome. It depletes Calcium, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc.”

Long term use is not an option, and extended use (more than one course of treatment) could result in different effects. The risks drastically out-weigh the benefits for someone who is not stricken with a serious disease. So I’ll have to just stick to my exercise and healthy eating plan for long term happiness.

Christine Jeffries is a writer/editor for work and at heart, and lives in a home of testosterone with her husband and two sons. She founded a women’s group, The Wo-Hoo! Society, in the interests of good friends, networking, and philanthropy; the group meets separately on a monthly basis in Phoenix and Kansas City. Christine is interested in women’s health and promoting strong women.

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EmpowHER Guest

Has anyone here been prescribed low-dosage Prednisone for arthritis over a long-term period?

November 5, 2019 - 5:41pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am the 70 year old lady who wrote on Sept. 1, 2015 about my dramatic response to prednisone. No reason was ever found to account for it, such as Polymyalgia Rheumatica, Lupus, and other autoimmune diseases - until I had an Addisonian Crisis 3 months after my post. I had been at my cardiologist's office for a complete workup and stress test morning of Dec. 18. We stopped for lunch and I immediately began having severe abdominal cramps. Those turned into violent vomiting/diarrhea for several hours. My son found me semiconscious in the bathroom upon coming home from work. I couldn't move! Frozen like a statue! I couldn't speak to answer his questions. 911 was called and I came around with IV in ambulance. ER doctors found I had an adrenal (Addisonian) Crisis, caused by a silent UTI. My adrenals could not handle the stress of it, and the following dehydration. They said I was close to going into a coma. Massive steroids over 6 days in the hospital - along with 6 antibiotics fixed me up. They warned me to get to an ER if I ever have more than 3 successive bouts of vomiting/diarrhea which will cause dehydration that my body can't handle. It happened again in January of this year. I had the vomiting/diarrhea, dehydration, unable to move or speak. Was transported by ambulance to ER. I had just gotten bronchitis the day before, and my body couldn't handle it! I wear Life Alert pendant and carry the GPS when out. I have notes in my car/house for EMTs in case I can't speak in an emergency. It is no trivial matter! One can die from this. I urge all those who receive a dramatic high from prednisone to have adrenal studies done. This is your body saying "There's what I've been missing!" I am on maintenance dose of 15 mg/day - increasing to 20 with extra activity, infection, surgery, or stress. I will be getting a large stress dose in my IV on Tuesday during knee replacement. I have osteoporosis from the prednisone, and fractured three vertebrae in falls over the past 2 years. Those can be handled, but I can't move without prednisone now. I also take thyroid hormone replacement. The benefits outweigh the risks in this case.

July 14, 2017 - 7:21am
EmpowHER Guest

Hi everyone! Age 65, horrific allergy to mold outside. Got severe sinus and ear infection and allergic bronchitis. Well antibiotics x 3 rounds got rid of the infections (the cough was beyond beyond) and now it's May 2017. The sinuses and ears got so inflammed I wanted to kill myself! Went to an awesome ENT which I should have done first. Had previously seen primary care doc, CVS minute clinic, then an allergist. Each gave me the following: antibiotics with and without Prednisone (each time the Prednisone worked x about 4-5 days dose). Then just antibiotic, on and on. The ENT said there was no more infection, no more fluid in the ears - finally! So two weeks ago May 2017 he put me on a 12 day 10 mg dose step up and then down Prednisone pac. OMG! I have been awake for ten days sleeping in short bursts when I exhaust myself cleaning everything in sight! Ive been eating and eating and gained ten pounds that I had lost and worked so hard to lose. Thankfully I have only tonight, tmrw and Wednesday the last of the dosages to consumme. The euphoria we all mention is there (been there done this drug before for sinus issues), but then....then you come crashing down...so I'm ready for it. Ready for this weight to come off of me. Don't care if I'm not as clear headed off than on it...I don't work full time....but really great to kill that inflammation. If you don't need to use it - don't but if you do short term it will take care of you. And now it's 2:30 pm and I need a nap. Only slept about two hours last night - the longest yet - nightmares yes! that too. Been up since 4 am. Good luck everyone!

May 22, 2017 - 11:28am
EmpowHER Guest

You are not alone. I cannot believe how great my prednisone prescription effects were on me. I was prescribed prednisone for an asthma issue. The 5 days that I was on prednisone was the best 5 days and the following 2 weeks we're the best of my life. I was soo productive and my mind felt so clear it was like a miracle. Since then I am continuing my research to see what options I have to feel this way again. Since you can't take prednisone long term I'm sure there are ways that could make me as clear as those days that I was on prednisone.

April 29, 2017 - 8:54pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Me too, same effect, more productive and calm,

October 14, 2018 - 3:30pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Please let me know if find out. I felt the best of my life. Wish was everyday!

December 15, 2017 - 3:49pm
(reply to Anonymous)

I am feeling the exact same way - incredibly productive and wanting to do more...the insomnia doesn't really bother me that much because I'm needing less sleep. Did you find anything (diet or natural) that helps insite this need to get things done?


July 30, 2017 - 9:08pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hello, where you able to find any alternative options to have your day clear minded and productive. I was prescribed predisone about a week ago do to an infection. While my joints don't hurt any more and my rash is gone, I love the fact that I am extremely energetic. All my life I always tell my self I suffer from chronic fatigue because I am always strougleing to get day by day. All my family are some what "clean freaks" and I felt the oposite. But I know what they mean when they say I just want my house clean. I would love to continue feeling this way to have family time and do exercise and possibly read a book.please share any info with this desperate mother of of 5 whos every day is a challenge just to do the minimal things. Thanks a lot.

July 13, 2017 - 9:51pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Prednisone led me to study Nootropics. I am still feeling fatigue through out the day and always wanting to sleep in the daytime. But I stay up late at night. I am currently researching modafinil and armodafinil. I am not sure if this drug will have similar effects to prednisone. But my studies do show that it will help with being more energetic and alert through out the day. You can do your own research and see what people are saying. I will be starting armodafinil soon and I will update my results here later.

July 14, 2017 - 4:59am
EmpowHER Guest

I was on another corticosteroid for eczema and inflammation that caused it (I had swollen lympth nodes all over my body, and my skin was red and swelling). I was on 4 mg each day of dexamethasone for 28 days and reduced to half dosage for a week to taper off the medication. I think this variant was a little less severe than prednisone because I didn't have many bad side effects besides having too much energy that led to decreased sleep. I had great sleep quality however. I also felt on top of the world and started dieting and exercising. I could feel myself decreasing in energy as I was tapering off the medication in the last week, and now I'm to having a mind that isn't as clear. I feel as unhappy and insecure as I was before, and my overthinking is back to where it was. My skin is going back to its state before the medication due to scratching, and I hate it. I want to feel great again...

April 18, 2017 - 11:13pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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