Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Joint pain from Prednisone taper, or something else?

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 0 Replies
  • Posted By: juice67
  • August 23, 2010
  • 10:34 PM

I recently came down with a "mystery illness" - fever spiking to 103-103.8 daily for 5 days, completely RED eyes, systemic red itchy rash - EVERYWHERE (it later peeled..everywhere) - swollen painful joints, swollen lymph nodes....I ended up in the ER, and tested negative for all the usual suspects - Lyme, Lupus, Hepatitis, Mono, Parvo, Kidney issues, Meningitis, my blood counts were normal...I was prescribed a 6 day taper of methylprednisolone (4mg) - starting with 6 doses the first day, then 5 , etc...it did wonders for the rash and fever, etc. - but by day 5, I had pretty bad joint pain. I went to see a rheumatologist, more bloodwork - diagnosed vasculitis, the rest...a mystery. She indicated they felt it was a virus that I had at first, that had now turned into an autoimmune disorder, and changed my dosage to 5mg of Prednisone 3x daily. By day 4 of this new regimen I woke up in EXCUCIATING pain in all my joints - including my jaw. I could not move my hands, wrists, arms - or stand up without screaming. I could not dress myself or perform basic functions. I called my reum in tears, she upped the dosage to 60 mg daily for a week - the pain and swelling stopped immediately. She said she thought I had tapered too quickly (after 1 week?) I tapered from that point, 40 mg for a week, then 30, then 20, then 10 for 5 days, then 5 for 5 days, ...all the way down to 0, a week ago! Total time on prednisone, about 6 weeks. As the dosage decreases, the pain in my joints has been steadily increasing - and the swelling continues. Each day, I wake up in more pain in most of my joints. From what I have learned about Prednisone, you usually have to be on it for months or years, or be on a high dosage for a period of time to really have issues tapering - or with withdrawal symptoms. I was initially on a pretty low dose for only a few days when I experienced my most painful episode yet. I am concerned that the Prednisone could be masking something else. Any thoughts?

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