I am still working with my latest specialist to determine exactly WHICH type of arthritis I have; she feels it is probably ankylosing spondylitis with enthesitis (inflammation where any tissue attaches to bone).
I've done two drug trials so far; Froban (Flurbiprofen), an NSAID, and Sulfasalazine. The Froban had to be reduced because it was too hard on my stomach, and the sulfasalazine caused the same problems along with incessant vomiting several times a week.
Last week, a doctor at my clinic got instructions from the specialist on call in Vancouver to remove me from the sulfasalazine altogether and start me on 20 mg of prednisone until I see my specialist this coming week. That change made an incredible difference; prior to that, my pain levels hit an all-time high for no apparent reason, and within 24 hours of starting the steroid, my pain levels were reduced by approximately 80%, INCLUDING spasms that have been completely unmanageable for about eight months.
I have only used prednisone in the past for lung problems, but I am aware of the nasty side effects.
For anybody who has had to take it for various forms of arthritis, can you tell me:- (a) When you wean off it, does the pain return right away and as intense as it was before you started taking it? (b) Is it something that can be used off and on for occasional flare-ups when pain meds don't manage the pain?
I'd appreciate hearing from those of you who have had to use it. I fly down to see my specialist on Tuesday, so I expect she will move on to the next "step" in the way of meds and decide what to do about the prednisone then.
Thanks for your input.