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Can Prednisone cause permanent damage to brain

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I was on Prednisone for over 20 years.

First time about 15-20mgs a day for 9 years. With occasional spikes.  Then over a final few months tapered off down to nothing, and was off of it for for 6 weeks.   Surprised my doctor, who did not think I could do it. Was on occasional steroid inhalers.

Got sick!  Right back on it again.

15-25mgs, sometimes more per day, for 7 years. Many times in hospital with increased spike dosage. Then over a final few months tapered off down to nothing, and was off of it for 5 months.  Was on occasional steroid inhalers. Thought I was finally off of it.

Got sick again. Right back on prednisone again.

20-35 mgs a day.  In hospital, on and off.   Had to take more for 2 years and was spiking towards the end.  Had a health crisis and pyschotic break - though never recognized as such.

Slowly, with a new doctor, over the next four years, tapered down to 5 mgs every other day.

On the fifth year, I finally got off prednisone as a maintenance drug.  Surpised my doctor who wanted to keep me on 5 mgs every other day, as I had been on it so long, he was initially leery of taking me off completely.

Since then, it has been  thirteen years since I was on it.

I still have ferocious panic attacks and behaviors.  Though increasing time periods between them. I do have triggers from my past, and that is a factor, apart from prednisone.

Can prednisone cause irreversible mood damage?

My intellect seems to be okay.

I was quite panickly before prednisone, but I was put on it during my early teens. Can it cause permanent mood problems, even years after coming off.  I wonder if it prevented my mood control from developing during adolescence?













Edited by prednizen
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OK, let me make sure I'm understanding you before I try to find you an answer: were you taking pred to treat your psych symptoms, or for something else? I've heard of prednisone causing psychiatric symptoms from agitation all the way to psychosis, but never of it being used to treat an MI.

Edited by Gearhead
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OK, let me make sure I'm understanding you before I try to find you an answer: were you taking pred to treat your psych symptoms, or for something else? I've heard of prednisone causing psychiatric symptoms from agitation all the way to psychosis, but never of it being used to treat an MI.


No, I was taking it for a physical condition.  I was asking about the side effects.

What I was asking  is:

A) Can the psychological effects of prednisone linger even after one is off the meds, for months? years?

B) Is there a degree of permanent damage to the hippocampus?


Edited by prednizen
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OK. I'm sorry to take so long. I've had this stupid drippy cold sapping my energy for over two weeks.

I found a number of articles for you, but I'm not sure I found a solid answer. This paper seem to suggest that damage to the hippocampus is possible from long term steroid use:  http://www.nature.com/npp/journal/v21/n4/full/1395378a.html

but it's an old paper (1999) and focuses on people with mood disorders. This paper also suggests that people with depression may just have smaller hippocampuses anyway:  http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/what-causes-depression

One thing is quite certain: there is no prednisone lingering in your system, messing you up:  http://www.drugs.com/answers/prednisone-how-long-does-it-take-predesone-to-get-372449.html

So I guess the best answer I can give you is "maybe." Anxiety and depression are pretty closely related. If you suffered from anxiety before you went on prednisone, I don't think there's any reason to imagine that, without therapy and/or medication, you wouldn't still suffer from it now. My advice is to concentrate on working with a tdoc and/or pdoc as necessary to get a handle on your symptoms as they are now, to improve your quality of life.

Good luck!




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