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TOPIC: Prednisone and weight loss

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June 13, 2012 4:15 AM
Hi all,
I was wondering if there is anyone here who is a long term user of Prednisone and if they have been able to sucessfuly lose weight whilst still being medicated.
My wife was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis in October and has been on a fairly high dose of Prednisone which has resulted in her gaining weight amongst other side effects.
It would be great to hear other people's,experiences.
  23588543
June 13, 2012 4:23 AM
bump
  14828062
June 13, 2012 4:46 AM
I had a hard time losing weight while on a high dose of prednisone. I felt like I was always hungry and craved really sweet foods. It is possible to lose weight, though the results might not be as noticeable. Prednisone can cause fat deposits around the neck, face and stomach, so even when I would bust my butt on the elliptical and watch my calories my stomach always felt a little bloated. I'm not sure if it's a possibility, but there is an alternative to prednisone, called Entocort which has reported less side effects. I was on it long term last year and didn't gain any weight at all, but I'm sure all results will be different. How long will your wife need to take the prednisone for?
June 13, 2012 11:31 AM
Thank you for the information, it sounds like you had the same battles with Prednisone.
It is pretty disheartening for her as she is doing everything right with diet and exercise but not seeing any results.
They have just put her on a second medication called methotrexate which will hopefully slowly reduce the prednisone dose over the next 6 months?
Cheers
  23588543
June 29, 2012 8:18 AM
I can't offer any insight into long term Prednisone use but I have been on it for 3 months now and am hoping it's possible to not blow up. I've gained back some of the weight I had purposefully lost through healthy diet and exercise last year but now all i crave are sweets and overall bad-for-you foods.
June 29, 2012 8:47 AM
I have Rhuematoid Arthritis and have been on low-dose prednisone for at least 5 years with a few high-dose days/weeks thrown in there. I gained some weight maybe due to the prednisone side effect of wanting to eat more but it comes down to choices I made to eat unhealthy foods versus healthy foods. I try to drink pleanty of water and eat plenty of fiber because the prednisone does impact water weight. I am down to 2.5 mg of prednisone a day unless I am having a flare-up but can't seem to get off of it completely. I have been losing weight but slowly and also because of some of the food and beverage choices I make. I have also been on Methotrexate for about 2-3 years and haven't noticed a difference in off-setting the effects of the prednisone.

I personally think a lot of it is psychological because it can be pretty depressing to have RA and the pains that come along with it. Having to take this and take that to see if it helps reduce the pain can be very frustrating. Eating what I wanted always seemed to be my answer to getting what I wanted when I didn't have control in the other areas of my life. Yes, there are the physical side effects of the drugs that can impact weight but we can choose to make the right choices and not let our diseases become the excuses. It's definitely frustrating but your wife is very lucky to have a husband who is looking for support for her and to better understand what she is going through!
  24433660
June 30, 2012 3:56 PM
Thanks for your reply Jinks,
It seems like being on the prednisone does make it tougher to lose weight but not impossible.
My wife is currently on a 20 mg dose but reducing slowly and has just started the methotrexate, so we are not sure how that will pan out.
It seems to be pretty well controlled at the moment with no flair ups.
She has lost about 8lbs so far, in about 7 weeks, so it is going really well.
Best wishes for your diet and I hope that one day you can be totally prednisone freesmile
  23588543
June 30, 2012 5:34 PM
In the last 14-16 months I have been on two rounds of prednisone starting at 60 mg a day and then weaning down. While each time I was only on the prednisone for a short period of time (2 weeks each) due to respiratory issues, I had serious side effects, and as I've been told, the effects get worse each time. Also, in my research (no doctor told me this but it seems to be somewhat of common knowledge) you are supposed to let any medical practitioner know you've been on prednisone for a full 2 years post your last dose b/c of its lingering affect on the body, particularly your adrenal glands. Even now (and its been several months since my last dose) I still have lingering weight effects. I gained weight in my abdomen like crazy and I have been unable to shed it well. In my entire life, I have never gained in my abdomen, as I am a very pear shaped woman and typically gain hips, thighs, butt.

Just realized I didn't really answer your question. So I think you can stave off weight gain if you are diligent bout calories as prednisone causes an increase in hunger. But, it also causes water retention (or something similar) so some of the weight gain may be inevitable. But if your wife has been on it for a while now, she will probably have a mix of both types of weight gain, and should be able to manage the increased hunger weight gain at the very least. Has she spoken with her doctor about weight management while on prednisone?

If I have stated information wrong I'm sorry. I'm just relaying how I've interpreted much of the information I've read.

I hope your wife can continue her taper. 8 pounds is a really good weight loss in that time frame for anyone, let alone someone dealing with prednisone. I hated being on prednisone. I was getting very strange hallucinations while on it, which I've been told can actually happen. Weird. Good luck!
  6822701
June 30, 2012 6:17 PM
I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis and was on a low dose of Prednisone for 3 years (5 mgs a day). There were brief periods where I was on 30 mgs (flare ups) but then quickly weaned back down. I have been on Methetrexate and Enbrel since last summer (I had a baby May 2011) and I'm currently 30 lbs lower than I was in 2005 when I first started Weight Watchers- and before the births of my 2 kids.

I will say that my RA is not great- not awful but I do miss the Prednisone. I'm *only* 38 so I do hate being on these drugs since I'll be on the them for the long haul- I'd probably feel better on the Prednisone than just the Meth and Enbrel but long term, I think that would be a mistake for my body.

Please send your wife good wishes-

Jinks- you said it very well! My RA is active in one wrist and one ankle and pain in those little joints can make little tasks so difficult. I would love to work out first thing in the morning but my joints aren't ready. I'm a teacher so have the summer off and can go mid-morning but that's not by choice. It's a craptastic little disease, eh?
June 30, 2012 9:36 PM
QUOTE:

In the last 14-16 months I have been on two rounds of prednisone starting at 60 mg a day and then weaning down. While each time I was only on the prednisone for a short period of time (2 weeks each) due to respiratory issues, I had serious side effects, and as I've been told, the effects get worse each time. Also, in my research (no doctor told me this but it seems to be somewhat of common knowledge) you are supposed to let any medical practitioner know you've been on prednisone for a full 2 years post your last dose b/c of its lingering affect on the body, particularly your adrenal glands. Even now (and its been several months since my last dose) I still have lingering weight effects. I gained weight in my abdomen like crazy and I have been unable to shed it well. In my entire life, I have never gained in my abdomen, as I am a very pear shaped woman and typically gain hips, thighs, butt.

Just realized I didn't really answer your question. So I think you can stave off weight gain if you are diligent bout calories as prednisone causes an increase in hunger. But, it also causes water retention (or something similar) so some of the weight gain may be inevitable. But if your wife has been on it for a while now, she will probably have a mix of both types of weight gain, and should be able to manage the increased hunger weight gain at the very least. Has she spoken with her doctor about weight management while on prednisone?

If I have stated information wrong I'm sorry. I'm just relaying how I've interpreted much of the information I've read.

I hope your wife can continue her taper. 8 pounds is a really good weight loss in that time frame for anyone, let alone someone dealing with prednisone. I hated being on prednisone. I was getting very strange hallucinations while on it, which I've been told can actually happen. Weird. Good luck!



Thanks for the information and good wishes.
Hallucinations! That must have been freaky, I think moon face and buffalo hump are bad enough.

Too be honest we didn't ask the Dr about the weight loss.
It seems like every time we see him we are full of questions and end up going home thinking we should have asked him such and such.
Next time I will make a list!

Best wishes on your weight loss journey and I hope you can stay prednisone free.
  23588543
June 30, 2012 9:44 PM
QUOTE:

I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis and was on a low dose of Prednisone for 3 years (5 mgs a day). There were brief periods where I was on 30 mgs (flare ups) but then quickly weaned back down. I have been on Methetrexate and Enbrel since last summer (I had a baby May 2011) and I'm currently 30 lbs lower than I was in 2005 when I first started Weight Watchers- and before the births of my 2 kids.

I will say that my RA is not great- not awful but I do miss the Prednisone. I'm *only* 38 so I do hate being on these drugs since I'll be on the them for the long haul- I'd probably feel better on the Prednisone than just the Meth and Enbrel but long term, I think that would be a mistake for my body.

Please send your wife good wishes-

Jinks- you said it very well! My RA is active in one wrist and one ankle and pain in those little joints can make little tasks so difficult. I would love to work out first thing in the morning but my joints aren't ready. I'm a teacher so have the summer off and can go mid-morning but that's not by choice. It's a craptastic little disease, eh?


Thanks Jwilllose, awesome weight loss by the way!
Yes RA and sarcoidosis are both pretty craptastic smile

It is a pity that prednisone has such nasty side effects because it does seem to be the most effective treatment.
  23588543
June 30, 2012 9:49 PM
Ironically enough, my doctor put me on this today for a short term issue. Knowing I was working on losing weight, his advice was to stay as far away from sugar as possible because the meds would make the body latch on to them "like a squirrel gathering nuts in October".
  24595036
June 30, 2012 9:51 PM
I’m on 40mg a day and so far have been able to lose. Not much at a time but that’s okay with me. One of the things I do is watch my calories, (usually), and if I’ve taken in too many I’ll get on the elliptical, bicycle or take a good long walk and try to work off the excess.

A positive side effect of Prednisone for me is extra energy but the negative is lack of sleep. I’m lucky to get more than 4 hours a night, last night it was 3.5 hours. Sure is a good excuse for those afternoon naps.
  21553044
June 30, 2012 9:58 PM
I was on Prednisone all last Fall and winter, and into this Spring. I successfully lost the first 34 lbs of mine while on it..but damn...I was hungry ALL THE TIME.

I found that from the time I started it, until when I stopped taking it, I was literally STARVING...it was ridiculous. I had to physically force myself not to go eat, that I wasn't truly hungry, it was just the medication talking. I also made it a point to have a LOT of protein, which for me at least, helped quite a bit.

I felt amazing while on it, all my inflammation and pain was gone, but still..I think Prednisone is the devil :(

I wish your wife good luck!

*edited* the ONE good thing about prednisone, is that I felt better enough to actually exercise, maybe that helped? Instead of being in so much pain, I could actually go out and do stuff...
Edited by happyfeetrebel1 On June 30, 2012 9:59 PM
  21000190
June 30, 2012 10:01 PM
My grandmother took prednisone for many years to manage her autoimmune hepatitis. Her weight went up and done each time I saw her, and she was often bloated. (It's hard to tell what what was the medicine and what was the disease in some cases.) While she eventually got type II diabetes from all the weight gain due to the prednisone, she did occasionally lose weight, and it was from eating cleaner. She did eat more frequently, but she made healthier food choices and often ate shaved ice. I think it helped her curb her appetite.

I can't offer much help on the subject, but I know how hard it is being on prednisone because I saw her struggle with it. Best of luck to you and your wife. flowerforyou Hopefully she won't have to take it anymore some day.
June 30, 2012 10:04 PM
i've been on 30-80mg daily since i was 17 the only time i gained weight was when my diseases were extremely bad (hospital or bed riiden) and was unable to move around. the best thing i can recommend exercise even just walking, lost the most weight when i would just walk and watched what i ate. If she can its best to keep carbs lower kind of like a modified atkins diet, im not much of a meat eater so i couldnt stand it but it works for a lot of people on pred
June 30, 2012 10:06 PM
Prednisone is a drug that does wonders for a lot of conditions (I was on it long term in middle school for my asthma), but it has a lot of nasty side effects :(

I experienced the extreme hunger and weight gain. However, I contribute the weight gain to a combination of eating habits, lack of exercise (due to my asthma being so out of control), puberty and my new BCPs, and the prednisone all together. My body was in a crazy place and it didn't like it very much. :P

That being said. It will be tough for her. Mostly mentally. She will probably retain more water, but she CAN lose the weight or keep off excess weight. However, it will be a mental battle against the drug (at least it would have been for me). I was CONSTANTLY hungry, no matter what I did.

I would definitely ask her doctor about ways to combat the weight issues. :) They might have some good suggestions.

I would help her out by removing really tempting foods from the house. I know once I got into something back then I would eat the WHOLE THING without intending to. :( My parents helped me out a lot by removing it completely from the house. My brain just never shut off the "FEED ME NOW" signal. ;)
  10341260
June 30, 2012 10:15 PM
I have psoriatic arthritis and take it many times, I gain every time without fail. The stuff is evil. I crave mostly carbs and I mean CRAVE! I gained something like 4 pounds just a couple weeks ago from being on it.

I have another family member who takes it every day and she has not been able to lose her weight. She was thin before she started taking it.

I wish your wife good luck!
June 30, 2012 10:38 PM
I know this isn't really a great answer to your question, nor have I ever been on Prednisone for an extended amount of time, but I've been doing a lot of research because of issues that I'm having. Extended use of steroids (like prednisone or for me, inhaled steriods for my ashtma) can cause Cushings in some people which is a syndrome where you have too much Cortisol in your system. Cortisol does good things, but in excessive amounts it tells your body that you're in a stressful situation and you need to save fat. You usually accumulate fat around your middle, face, and on your upper back. I imagine if this is the case it would be VERY difficult to lose the weight even if you're doing all of the right things because it's due to a hormonal issue and not just because you're hungry and craving certain foods.
I know that eating carbs can also raise Cortisol because they raise your blood sugar, then insulin drops your blood sugar really low which causes Cortisol to be released because your body goes into starvation mode. I'm in no way saying do low carb or no carb, but if Cortisol is already a problem because of the steroids, it's probably even more important that she eats lots of protein and eat snacks to keep her blood sugar level.
Good luck to you guys - it really sucks when you do all of the right things but the weight doesn't come off.
  24722484
July 1, 2012 12:50 AM
QUOTE:

Ironically enough, my doctor put me on this today for a short term issue. Knowing I was working on losing weight, his advice was to stay as far away from sugar as possible because the meds would make the body latch on to them "like a squirrel gathering nuts in October".


laugh

Hopefully your short term use won't be too nasty for you.
Edited by Cant0na On July 1, 2012 12:51 AM
  23588543
July 1, 2012 12:58 AM
I'm sorry to read about anyone else needing Prednisone. I have many autoimmune ailments and so I've been on it more times than I can count. When I was skinny--my lifetime state up until a few years ago--all it did was make my face look a little puffy. Ok, more than a little. People would see a "change" in me and wonder what it was. I'm currently working very hard to stay off Prednisone but I think that I might need to go back on it soon.
  19411282
July 1, 2012 5:49 AM
Thanks Jwilllose, awesome weight loss by the way!
Yes RA and sarcoidosis are both pretty craptastic smile

It is a pity that prednisone has such nasty side effects because it does seem to be the most effective treatment.


The most frustrating thing for me is that I was on such a low dose that I had ZERO side effects. I could lose weight and keep it off easily- when I went off, the pain came back and I (PERSONALLY) got lazy and ate too much because "Woe is me- my wrist hurts". I'm an emotional eater so I'm paying careful attention to my hunger level and only eating to satisfy physical needs (or if I'm out and something homemade is offered to me- I make exceptions for that). But I know Prednisone is not meant to be lifelong so I needed to essentially force myself off it. I don't have much pain compared to those with active RA so I'm not complaining (too much) ;)

I sincerely wish your wife a reduction in pain and for all those who have taken it for pain- I hope one day we find we never need it again!
July 1, 2012 10:07 PM
Thank you all for the helpful advice and good wishes.

The low carb suggestion is very interesting, we have been reducing carbs over the past three weeks so we will see if in the long term this reduces the buildup of fats from the prednisone.

Thanks again and the best of luck on your respective Journeys.smile
  23588543
July 1, 2012 10:10 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Ironically enough, my doctor put me on this today for a short term issue. Knowing I was working on losing weight, his advice was to stay as far away from sugar as possible because the meds would make the body latch on to them "like a squirrel gathering nuts in October".


laugh

Hopefully your short term use won't be too nasty for you.


Thanks! I hope so too. It's this or surgery so I'm hoping this does the trick and I can be done with it all. Best of luck to you guys as well!
  24595036
July 1, 2012 10:26 PM
I have been diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma in 04. And had to do radiation , and surgery.
Then I lost 22 lbs with that.
Then in 09 it came back and had to take prednisone and chemo. gained weigh back. I t seems hard to take those 40 lbs off.
I have been in remission since December of 09.
I wish everyone the best.

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