Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis with Prednisone

Prednisone is a steroid that is commonly prescribed to treat a variety of conditions. It primarily acts as an anti-inflammatory, which also works by impairing your immune system. It has been prescribed to treat asthma, allergic conditions, certain types of arthritis, among other things. For symptom management in patients that are suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Prednisone is currently the most commonly prescribed medicine.


Medications that actively fight Rheumatoid Arthritis are classified under the term disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs - sometimes shortened to DMARDs. A typical treatment plan for rheumatoid arthritis will typically involve both symptom management and disease treatment. This means that you will likely be prescribed Prednisone in addition to some other type of medication in order to treat your rheumatoid arthritis. For rheumatoid arthritis patients Prednisone is often prescribed in lower dosages as it can have some unpleasant side effects if it is used at a high dosage over long periods of time.


Here are some commonly asked questions about using Prednisone to treat arthritis:


What is the typical dosage?


Although this will depend on the doctor and the individual, an average dosage is 5 to 10 mg per day. Some patients need as high as 70 mg per day, and other patients sometimes need a higher dosage but go back to a lower dosage schedule. The lowest possible dosage that will help your symptoms is what doctors will be looking for, so some trial and error might be involved at the beginning of your treatment.


How long will I need to use Prednisone?


Ideally, Prednisone is used as a bridge between treatment. It is prescribed to temporarily treat symptoms until other medications can start working. However, other times this does not work, and patients continue to use Prednisone for months or years.


Is Prednisone well tolerated?


Like most drugs, Prednisone is not without its side effects. Side effects become more likely, and more severe, the higher the dosage and the longer the duration of treatment. This is why Prednisone is ideally used as a bridge medication. Many people choose to use Prednisone despite its side effects, but many people are not happy about having to do so. If you have other medications that are handling your symptoms well, stick to them.


If you have Rheumatoid Arthritis, symptom management is important. You must often get the pain under control before you can begin any type of physical therapy. Therefore, while Prednisone certainly has its place, it is not something that should be relied on for a cure.