When I saw my transplant nephrologist on Monday, he agreed that now was the right time to begin operation prednisone taper (and ultimately discontinue).
I've been on prednisone in varying amounts since I was first diagnosed in '96. I have prednisone to thank for many of my health issues past and present, including cataracts, stretch marks, moon face, and, of course, the avascular necrosis which resulted in the need to have both my hip and my knee replaced.
In the past, doctors have tried to taper me off of prednisone. The problem is the fact that my lupus would flare something terrible whenever I got any lower than the 7.5 mg daily dose. I've been on 5 mg for several years, with the exception of a temporary increase in the dose shortly after my transplant. The other problem is that my doctors were just trying to taper the drug off completely and not replace it with something that perhaps wasn't chock full of horrid side effects.
In comes Imuran
This is what I will be taking in order to replace prednisone. But in the meantime, we are still erring on the side of caution and tapering my prednisone dose slowly while including frequent blood work.
I'll essentially be taking half of an imuran pill everyday.
Half of an imuran pill = 25mg
Easily broken in half
I will be pairing my imuran with half of a prednisone pill. (2.5mg) I'll be doing this on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
25 mg of imuran and 2.5 mg of prednisone
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I will take my usual 5mg of prednisone coupled with the 25mg of imuran. This will go on for one month. After one month, what I'll be doing is eliminating the prednisone altogether and bumping the imuran up to an entire pill every day. My doc will be keeping a very close eye on my bloodwork to ensure there isn't anything funny happening.
So for now, this is what my morning medications look like:
On Mon, Wed and Fri, it is a full (5mg) prednisone pill
Imuran - immunosuppressant
Pantoloc- helps with my reflux
Prednisone- the drug I love to hate
Palafer- Operation: wake up, hemoglobin
Vitamin D- well..I have low vitamin D.
It's nice to finally be taking steps in the right direction to rid me of this prednisone. I just sincerely hope that my body responds well and doesn't go crazy after the prednisone is gone, especially since I've been taking it for so long. I'll update as usual, including any changes to my bloodwork. Hopefully there won't be anything negative to report.