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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Prednisone: Necessary Evil

Shutterstock Image we are at Asthma Doc's office - again......

Daughter Kitty is really having a hard time with her asthma. She is on the highest dose of a combination medicine and still can't control it. In fact, she's been in her "yellow zone" for almost 2 months. 

This is an Asthma Action Plan from the Utah Department of Health. They are just like Stop Lights (Green, Yellow and Red.) And just like Stop Lights, yellow means "caution" or "warning" - your asthma is getting worse! If you keep getting worse, you may drop in the Red Zone - which means get to the hospital ASAP or all 911.

Since Kitty was in the hospital 4 times when she was younger for asthma, we would like to AVOID that again. So, the next step for her is to get Prednisone (a corticosteroid.) A corticosteroid is a medicine that brings the swelling down in her lungs. (It can be used for other things too like arthritis, lupus, etc.)

Don't panic - they're not the same kind of steroids that body builders use (she's not going to bulk up.) Many parents are worried and think that steroids aren't safe. But - it's take Prednisone pills now and stay out of the hospital. Or, be admitted to the hospital and get steroids in an I.V. (We have done both routes MANY times over the years.......and I would rather NOT go back to the hospital.) I have been told that the steroids in the IV are REALLY strong. But if they keep you alive......

Prednisone can have some nasty side effects. My kids always get angry, eat a lot, wouldn't be able to sleep, their face would puff up and their cheeks would turn red.

In fact, I texted Hubby and said, "Kitty on Prednisone. You have been warned...."

Sometimes kids need a little extra patience and understanding. Because they get a little crazy when they are on steroids, but they can't help it! :(
Sometimes the doctor and pharmacist don't "warn you" about how crazy your child might be on steroids. So, I try to warn other parents about it now! lists other side effects of Prednisone :

Other common prednisone side effects may include:
  • sleep problems (insomnia), mood changes;
  • increased appetite, gradual weight gain;
  • acne, increased sweating, dry skin, thinning skin, bruising or discoloration;
  • slow wound healing;
  • headache, dizziness, spinning sensation;
  • nausea, stomach pain, bloating; or
  • changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist).
There are more side effects too (and some are really make sure to read about ALL the possible side effects - just in case.)  But don't get too worried. It seems like there are always lots of side effects things that COULD happen from Prednisone - but usually don't. 

But.....Prednisone keeps people breathing. And that's the most important thing here. So that's why many people call it a "Necessary Evil". Because it can have nasty side effects, but you still have to use it to keep breathing. 

And breathing is always a good things for asthma.


  1. I have addisons, and I get roid rage if my dose isn't exactly right. I have to increase my dose if I get sick.

    1. Oh wow! One more thing to worry about! :(

  2. And I just got a letter today saying my allergist is retiring. I'm going to miss her, been her patient for over a decade.

    1. Does she have a good replacement? We have been going to our allergy and asthma doc for 16 years....I hope he doesn't retire! I love that guy!

  3. Have you asked your allergist or pulmonologist about Xolair? I totally changed my life with asthma and allergies! Steroids weaken bone and cause lasting side effects. I was steroid, theophylline and terbutaline dependent and I now have Advair, Xolair, and a Albuterol inhaler that expires before I have to use it.

    1. Yes, my son was on Xolair for 7 years. We thought it would be time to try it for my daughter. As you probably know, you have to be REALLY bad to qualify - so we are working on getting her qualified right now.

      IgE level qualifies - now we just need a spirometry to see how her lungs look.

      I'm so glad you are doing well on Xolair. It changed my son's life. Before that, he had been hospitalized 8 times (2 were ICU).

      We are hoping our daughter can qualify and will respond well to Xolair