How Prednisone Affects the Course of Polymyalgia Rheumatica
People taking low doses of prednisone rarely experience side effects; side effects are more common among people taking higher doses. But all patients should be aware of potential side effects, which include:
- Fluid retention and weight gain
- Rounding of the face
- Delayed wound healing
- Bruising easily
- Myopathy (muscle wasting)
- Increased blood pressure
- Decreased calcium absorption in the bones, which can lead to osteoporosis
- Irritation of the stomach.
People taking corticosteroids may have some side effects or none at all. Patients should report any side effects to their doctor. When the medication is stopped, the side effects disappear.
Because prednisone and other corticosteroid drugs change the body's natural production of corticosteroid hormones, the patient should not stop taking the medication unless instructed by the doctor. The patient and doctor must work together to gradually reduce the medication.
Most people with polymyalgia rheumatica lead productive, active lives. The duration of treatment differs for each patient. Once treatment is stopped, polymyalgia rheumatica may recur; but again, symptoms usually respond rapidly to prednisone.