Prednisone, azathioprine, and cyclophosphamide are a few of the medications used for treating Wegener's granulomatosis. In most cases, treatment will consist of a combination of a glucocorticoid and a cytotoxic medicine. As with all medications, there are possible side effects associated with any Wegener's medication your doctor decides to prescribe. Careful monitoring is an important part of treatment for this condition.
In most cases, treatment for Wegener's granulomatosis consists of a combination of a glucocorticoid (a steroid) and a cytotoxic medicine. Although these medicines are helpful in treating Wegener's granulomatosis, Wegener's medication can have potentially serious side effects. In many instances, these can be minimized or prevented by carefully monitoring the patient.
Medications used to treat Wegener's granulomatosis include:
Prednisone is the most common glucocorticoid used as a Wegener's treatment method. Prednisone is similar to cortisol, the natural glucocorticoid hormone produced by the body. This Wegener's medication is chemically different from the anabolic steroids that have been used by athletes, and is given in much higher doses than the body normally produces.
In patients with Wegener's granulomatosis, doctors usually give prednisone as a single morning dose to try to imitate how the body normally secretes cortisol. If the person's illness improves, the prednisone dose is gradually decreased and then converted to an every-other-day dosing schedule, usually over a period of three to four months. If there is further improvement in the Wegener's granulomatosis, the prednisone is gradually decreased and then discontinued completely after approximately 6 to 12 months.
When prednisone is taken by mouth, the body stops making its own natural cortisol. As the prednisone dose is gradually reduced, the body will resume making cortisol again. It is extremely important that prednisone never be stopped suddenly, because the body requires prednisone (or cortisol) to function and may not be able to immediately make what it needs.
Prednisone can affect the body's ability to fight off infection. People taking this Wegener's medication should immediately report any symptoms of infection, especially fever, to their doctors. Prednisone can also cause weight gain, cataracts, brittle bones, diabetes, and changes in mood and personality.