I was prescibed prednisone for serious sinus issues; 60 mgs. for 5 days and gradually tapering off over 14 days total. About 1/2 way through I began feeling deeply dipressed and had quick weight gain. Since I had quit smoking only 8 weeks previous to this, I had already gained some weight but felt I had my eating back under control. I had also been using Zyban to help me through the quitting smoking but had stopped just a day or 2 before starting this prednisone regimen. At the thime, I thought my depression was a result of the weight gain which I blamed on the non-smoking/metabolism shift(?). Never the less, I was a mess; crying all the time, not wanting to be around anyone, exhausted. I had such an argument with my daughter and husband, I ran out and bought cigarettes and smoked! Stupid, I know but I was definately out of control. As the days went by and the depression got worse I decided to check the side effects for prednisone. Could this REALLY be a result of the prednisone? I've been off it now for 10 days and I still don't feel much better yet. I don't seem to be still gaining weight but I am still depressed. Does anyone know how long it takes for this to be totally out of your system? Any info would be greatly appreciated
Can prednisone cause depression and how long does it take to get out of your system?
Question posted by upset in Boston on 23 July 2012
Last updated on 8 April 2022 by GHillegass33
As I read through everyone's comments, I can identify with the positive and the negative side effects. I only took the occasional 6 day course of diminishing dosage - starting at 60 mg on first day, then 50, 40 ,30 20 10 - twice in my life for bronchitis and weaned off successfully, until 2006 when I crashed after weaning. I had to call my doctor because I was wandering my house and yard, wringing my hands and crying for a few days. He put me back on at 2.5 mg/day. I weaned more slowly successfully. Prior to this, going back to childhood, I suffered crashes after traveling, severe emotional stress, bacterial/viral infections, accidents, giving birth, relocation, death of loved ones, raising teens - any overload to my adrenal glands. I thought it was normal post exertional fatigue, until a couple severe crashes in 1990 led my primary to put me through all kinds of tests, including a sleep study. I had gotten some type of viral infectiom in Feb.
that year which translated into what we refer to today as "Long Hauler's Syndrome". I could barely stay out of bed. I took long breaks at work, napping in my car. All tests negative, except sleep study which showed I miss stage 4 restorative sleep. I was with a close friend at the moment of death that same time and handled her funeral. Then we learned we were being relocated to Tampa from Philly. We had to leave 20 and 18 year old sons behind (they had own lives beginning and didn't want to move) and take two younger ones with us. Everyone's stress was through the roof. I even went to my husband's boss' home and begged him to keep us in PA, but whole IBM division, including him, had to leave. My doctor forbid me not to go, saying it would kill me. I was mostly in bed trying to pack up, then settle into new life here, missing my older boys. I slept 8 months and had to be on antidepressants in order to get on my feet to find a job and care for two younger children. That was 31 years ago. The constant fatigue alternating with irritability, anxiety, led to situational depression over feeling lousy all the time. The death of my mother 1984, followed by the birth of our 4th child preceded this move. Then crashes became more frequent.In 1999, I collapsed on last day of a week in Rome with my church choir and had to be helped out of the hotel, onto 2 planes back to Tampa. A dear friend escorted me all the way, making sure I was in my proper seat, feeding me. I came around on the 8 hour flight back home, but was in bed for a week until I could resume work. This happened every time I traveled 1000 miles back to Philly to visit children and grandchildren since. New doctors in Tampa diagnosed me with hypothyroidism and Fibromyalgia, and now Chonic Fatigue Syndrome. Thyroid replacement hormone and Prozac helped a little. Prozac caused irritability and I transitioned through several other antidepressants, none of which I could tolerate. Meeting new neighbors, church members, co-workers energized me somewhat. I managed. But the real culprit was a diminishing adrenal stress overload causing insufficiency over time to meet demands of life. I developed trouble standing up and walking. My new neurologist tested for Myasthenia Gravis, neuromuscular diseases, even sending me to the University of Miami and University of Florida for detailed testing. I had two muscle biopsies done. All showed small fiber neuropathy in both legs and small and motor neuropathy in both arms/hands. I was going deaf from moderate sensorineural hearing loss same in both ears. At the time, I was on 2.5 mg/day prednisone, weaning from emergency dose in 2009 of 20 mg/day to get me through my summer up north. Then 10 mg /day over 2010 summer trips to TX and PA. Weaning was slow, but working. Simultaneously, the neurologist and new rheumatologist found I had MGUS, Monoclonal Gammapathy of Undetermined Significance. It is an over proliferating protein in bone marrow that can lead seniors to blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. I was on 7.5 mg/day prednisone at that time. The hematologist said that was holding back it's progression and to stay on it. All subsequent annual tests for MGUS are negative. It is in remission. Prednisone miraculously got me back on my feet and handled this too. I was feeling normal and developing none of the problems associated with it: diabetes, cataracts, fat deposition, bad moods, depression., osteoporosis. This means I was in deficit cortisol production and prednisone filled my almost empty adrenals. Then the big validation was in Dec. 2015. I had an addisonian crisis from severe vomiting and diarrhea which knocked me unconscious. My son found me in the bathroom after work. An ambulance took me to ER where I was severely dehydrated and only about 2 hours from death. Prednisone was on the med list, and they investigated cortisol levels, finding I was bottomed out. My body couldn't handle the low state it was in . I spent 6 days on solumedrol, coming home on 40 mg of prednisone per day. It was 12/23, so I took myself Christmas shopping on 24th and collapsed again Christmas Day after church. Worst thing to do after a collapse is take on more activity! I weaned to 20, then 10 over last 6 years. I hope to get it down to 7.5 as the adrenals are signaled to make more on their own. I may never be able to get off it completely. It turned out have been developing over a lifetime. My immune system is compromised , so I am not permitted by my immunologist to get any flu or covid shot. They cannot make sufficient antibodies against these viruses. I am already taking Valacyclovir and prophylactic light antibiotics for a reactivation of old Epstein Barr virus that showed up around 2012. So you see my need for prednisone, and the importance of balancing the weaning process. I know I have to top it up when I slow down to feeling like a statue, have huge pain increase and depression. I lower it if I can't sleep or feel irritable. I take supplemental fast acting hydrocortisone to enable to me to out to doctor appointments or anywhere. It's like a rescue inhaler. It gives a four hour lift, then I turn back into Cinderella. The daily prednisone is the underlayment that lasts longer for routine activity. Friends and neighbors are amazed at the lift I get from prednisone and cortisone shots in joints, because they don't. Their adrenals are ok and extra steroids make them miserable. They get the humpback, moon face, bulging eyes, prednisone-type cataracts, osteoporosis, etc. - signs of Cushing's Disease. Those of you who are miserable on prednisone have normal cortisol, those who feel like normal again and want to clean your neighbor's houses on it are probably deficient. Only fasting ACTH and cortisol levels will reveal the level. Constant research helped me and my doctors figure the needs and consequences of it. Interestingly, I am developing non-prednisone old age cataracts since age 75, and mild osteopenia. I have the belly ring, though. Watching carbs reduces this. I wrote a book here, but to help you who read it to gain some insight into what prednisone can for to those deficient in cortisol vs. those who are not.
HI UPSET IN BOSTON I have also noticed that when I am on prednisone, my depression is GONE!!! I have been on 3 different meds for depression since 2011. (On 3/6 I was on 60 mgs Cymbalta now I am on 20mgs. I strongly suggest never ever going on this medication. Anyway... ). I have chronic asthma since 1989. I finally found an awesome pulmo dr that put me on great meds (inhalers) so I have not been on steroids since last april. When I stopped using prednisone last April, by May I noticed 1 week a month all of a sudden I was so down and anxious it scared me, next month same thing, etc, etc... I did not know what the heck was going on. I got so upset I spoke to a therapist. That lasted 5 visits. On Feb 15 2019 I had a asthma attack (caught a cold from my hubby) and now i'm back ln prednisone. A few days in NO DEPRESSION, GONE!!! I have checked on line and found ADRENAL FATIGUE can be caused by yrs and yrs of prednisone use.
I have 11 of the16 symptoms for adrenal fatigue, 11!!! In the past my previous pulmo dr put me on 100mgs prednisone and taper down to 5 mgs which would take like 2 months. I did this a few times a yr since 2012.. No wonder my body loves prednisone. Prednisone, the medication I really hate/love at the same time. Asthma is scary, my chronic pain hurts like heck but depression is the worst of the three. Prednisone helps all three. Oh how I wish it didn't have so many negative side effects since it helps so much. One day at a time. It's not you, it's the steroids.
Hi Lorettamc87. I was diagnosed with polymyalgia in Feb 2019, started on prednisone and within 12 hours couldn't believe the difference it made... I felt like I'd been given my life back. Of course along with relief came the side affects, for me it is the weight gain which in turn is causing some depression which I don't think is too bad right now, just a little down at times. I was prescribed 15 mg for a couple of weeks and began tapering down very slowly by 1 mg per month so it will take me until Dec. when I'm finally free of them as long as all goes as planned. This drug, on one hand has been a wonder drug for me and I pray that I am able to get off them without it messing with me any more than it has.
I am so glad I found y’all today! As I was reading I noticed that most of the posts were written in 2012, and now it’s 2018. I probably wouldn’t have posted anything except that I noticed a few newly added comments so this may just be serendipity! I have dealt with chronic back pain for years.. I have been put on high doses of prednisone for years to help combat the inflammation in my SI and lower back as well. I have always only been prescribed prednisone on a short term basis using the tapering off method. I know from past experiences that it makes me a “monster.” I find myself crying and getting upset over basically nothing but it’s a necessary evil to control the issues that I have. This time however everything has been different.
I mean I’m still moody, crying all of that but also my hands and feet feel like they are on fire! I can’t get any relief..I have used an entire bottle of the maximum strength Lidocaine cream in just over 24 hours on my hands and feet. Also I have been having some pretty dark thoughts. I feel like I’m going nuts.. I have been disoriented, hallucinating to the point that I don’t know what’s real at times. I’m having panic attacks and suicidal thoughts. It’s been awful and I’m not even half way done. I have called my doctor several times but he hasn’t called me back and I just feel so alone right now. I know this won’t be the last time I will have to take these “devil’s tic tacs” but I know it should be. Does anyone know of something else that could be prescribed that won’t make me feel like I’m going crazy? Has anything ever helped any of you the way the prednisone does? Just to clarify I’m not having suicidal thoughts at the moment so please don’t worry about that; I just don’t know how I’m going to get through the rest of this prescription in one piece. Any suggestions would be so greatly and gratefully appreciated.
I am so sorry you are dealing with this! I am also having last thing and horrible issues that started one week after I ended prednisone. I am still searching for answers!!!
I hope you are feeling better!!!
*lasting Not “last thing”
I took Prednisone for 7 months.
I've been off my Prednisone for 5 weeks. Is it possible to feel side effects after being off this medication for 5 weeks? I started on 10mg, tapered down to 1mg, then stopped. I then had lower back pain, then it stopped, knee pain, stomach pain, then it stopped, bladder pain then stopped. Then mid-upper back pain. I've been nursing it for 6 days now.
All I know is that medicine makes people angry
SIMILAR REACTION: I know this was posted in 2012 and I hope all is well with you. I’m simply posting here because I went through a similar issue. I had taken prednisone when I was a kid and had no problems. October 2016 I had to take prednisone due to asthmatic issues. As a result I had terrible anxiety, palpitations, and depression just days in. THIS IS NOT THE CASE FOR EVERYBODY WHO TAKES PREDNISONE BUT HERES WHERE MY STORY GETS TRICKY. After 8 months of having anxiety/depression, muscle twitches, headaches, flu like symptoms, and insomnia and seeing multiple doctors who told me there was nothing wrong with me and just prescribed me antidepressants I had come across an article on Lyme disease. I saw a Lyme specialist and that’s what I had! The prednisone-a steroid- brought out all my symptoms at once because Lyme disease can lay dormant in your body for years.
It usually takes a traumatic incident or steroid for it to come to the surface. Well, I know this is my personal story but I’m sure somebody out there is battling he similar symptoms I had. Good luck to all.
This sounds like me! I need to look into this. Did you fully recover? How long did it take? How did you find a reputable lyme specialist?
This sounds like me! I need to look into this. Did you fully recover? How long did it take? How did you find a reputable lyme specialist?
Try being bipolar and having severe reoccurring episodes of bronchitis because you have GERD and gastroparesis. The only thing that gets me well is steroids but it wrecks hell on my mental health. Steroids are known to send people who are bipolar one of two ways they either can go manic or they can go into deep depression. But frankly I don't have a choice nothing else works.
I believe the depression does not come from the medication itself, but rather the physics side effects. I have Addison’s, and recently got a bad cold that triggered my asthma. I was in the hospital for 5 days on mega doses of prednisone. Needless to say by the time I left the hospital I already had the moon face, and the apple belly (that wasn’t helping with my breathing either). When I got here nw and looked in the mirror I started crying. Who was that person? Because it didn’t look like me. On top of everything else I also got acne, another cortisone side effect. I have spiraled into a depression that I don’t want to leave the house. I’m seriously considering stopping all my medications, and let nature take its course. This isn’t quality of life. The lower back pains alone (another cortisone side effect) make it hard to get around.
Between childhood asthma, Atopic Dermatitis, and now Addison’s I’ve been on one form of cortisone or another. But the side effects have never been as severe as now, nor have I ever suffered from depression like I am now. That is why I feel the side effects are what trigger the depression, not the medication.
I'm in the middle of serious anxiety and panic attacks after only 5 days or Prednisone and Doxycycline. Both have screwed me up. I keep hearing 3 weeks. I have been at this 2 weeks. My career as a firefighter paramedic depends on recovery. I'll have to resign and find something else to do after 15 years. The panicking has stopped but depression and anxiety are still here. Getting information on temporary or permanent is difficult. I'm hopeful it's temporary. I wish you all the best.
Does Steriods cause depression in Diaylsis patients. If so, how long does it last.
What can I do to help stop this?
I just had three days in a high dose to relieve fibromyalgia. Felt like superwoman and now it's over I'm so depressed I can't see any light at al. I almost prefer to be in pain.
Did the depression go away? How long did it take? I was on a high dose for 2 months for back pain. I came off it last week and now I'm in a pit of depression and anxiety. I've suffered really badly from this in the past so all the old feelings and thoughts are coming back. The doc put me back on the steroids 3 days ago and also on beta blockers but nothing is working. I've been on antidepressants most of my life.
Wow. I wish I was told having a pure mental break down. I am now hungry all the time and crying or anxious. The person I am dating does not know what is wrong but I thought I would research and the only thing different was the predisone. Today is my last day on them and I hope it stops!!!
I hope you're feeling better soon! I have now recovered but it was absolute hell at the beginning!!
I have been on prednisone for nine months. Started at 120mg daily. After four months as treatment for ITP pulmonary embolisms, many in both lungd, prednisone started tapering slowly. I'm down to 2.5 mg for four weeks then 1mg daily for another four weeks. I hand never cried so much. Anxiety is horrible, too. Docs say oh it's just the meds. I've lost my job over this craziness. I don't know what to think. Horrible stuff should be banned. Am I ever going to be me again? I'm crying this second, and have no idea why. Its getting worse not bettet. This is hell
I am so glad I read all the comments I have long term use of prednisone. I know that all of my mental issues have been made by prednisone. Constant crying episodes, outbursts of anger, profuse sweating, major depression. I am so angry at the Mds that I have been seeing no one mentioned this. Thank you all for your advise.
I take prednisone on and off for asthma and I have been desperately depressed and can understand where you are coming from
I was on prednisone two months ago, when I was on it I felt edgie so the Dr put me on Zoloft. Wow what a trip I put myself in the hospital thinking I was going nuts. I was in for 5 days when I got out I was fine, then the doctor changed my meds agian on me. Now I feel anxious and depressed, can meds really screw people up? I have been on prednisone before but never noticed the depression, agitation and anxious feelings. Or am I nuts?
YES yes yes. Meds can screw you up big time! I am going throught the same thing you are. Do Not think it is you or your fault.
I took Prednisone for 4 days for my hairtransplant surgery and after the 3 day my panic attack and anxiety kicked in. I had anxiety in the past and have been on effexor 75mg for my tinnitus,and this thing totally made me feel bad. After 4-6 weeks, I still feel very anxious and my doctor gave me xanax to cope, but it makes me feel tired..
IT's A TERRIBLE DRUG AND SHOULD BE BANNED.
Why don't doctors check w patients first before prescribing this crap?
I agree... my ears, nose & throat specialist NEVER even mentioned the possible side affects. Had she, I would have insisted on something else. I cancelled my sinus surgery because she told me I'd need to go on it again beforehand. I've struggled with depression for many years; I'd say it was dangerous for me to be put on prednisone.
very true... same here and I have been taking effexor 75mg and at one point 150mg to cope with the anxiety of Tinitus and Prednisone, made me all depressed and anxious, and I am off of it for almost 2 Months, but because I had past anxiety episodes, it brought back all the fearful memories and churning in the stomach and hopelessness... I am still baffled and outraged at my Hairtransplant Dr. because he saw that I was taking Effexor and should have been careful with prescribing this awful drug.
Is there anywhere more information whether Prednisone has long-term psychological effects?
Please be aware about some facts regarding prednisone. Not everyone has the same response and not everyone has the fortune of getting off this drug. Prednisone affects everyone differently. It has helped millions of people and saved millions of lives. It is unfortunate that you had a bad response. However, the side effects can be negligible in comparison to the disease it is combatting. I would be dead without it.
We are not here to take radical stands. It helps no one who has to be on a medication and go scaring them. Doctors do not handout prednisone like candy. The information on prednisone and how it works is the responsibility of the person getting the prescription to ask questions for any medication prescribed. The medication is accompanied with a fact sheet and should be read and not tossed.
Because of the complexity of the medication with the ailment being treated and any other drugs including many antibiotics, it is very difficult to predict ones response or to know later if the prednisone was the culprit. My prednisone sparing medication has far worse side effects than prednisone. Just different.
Would be happy to talk with you further on this topic. Feel free to send a private message and we can talk. Karen
All I know is that since I started complaining in July, I've heard horror story after horror story HOWEVER... I have a 21 yr. old nephew who is battling a disease I can't pronounce but it causes his kidneys to shut down. Prednisone IS part of his cocktail which finally seems to be working for him. So the side affects while uncomfortable for him, are worth it so that he doesn't swell up and can't walk. I have another nephew who suffers from an autoimmune lung disease and he's had to take it from time to time. He hates the side affects but he HAS to keep his disease under control.
But you're absolutely right - every doctor should have a full conversation with their patients regarding the possible side affects. I think I would have refused to take it had I known it would make me gain 10 lbs. in a week (of course it was for a very special occaision - my daughter's 1st baby shower.) AND cause depression and suicidal thoughts. I cried all day, for days - it was ridiculous.
Well, best of luck to you. I can say that it was finally out of my system within 3 weeks after my last dose. I DID drink a tremendous amount of H2O as someone had suggested and that seemed to help.
I forgot to answer your question... I got the most info online; any of these discussion boards gave all sorts of info. I don't recall if any of them mentioned long term psychological problems with it. Check everything google has to offer. Sorry, I wish I had more to help you!
Hey upset. People love to complain. They look for understanding, sympathy, or soothe a deflated ego. They share their horror stories and hope that makes their experience normal. Actually, every drug, be it aspirin or cough medicine will have a story of someone who died, became impaired, suffered needlessly. That is how we are. Everyone's body is different. What helps one is a problem for another. A drug like prednisone can help that nephew and harm pinkpig. However, our expectations have a lot to do with it. Like I said it keeps me alive or my organs that were shutting down seven years ago would have stayed that way. So you gain ten pounds? That was water weight and not as important as the problem being treated. The expectation is to get better. Fear of a treatment makes it many times worse than it is.
My suggestion remains to you and others is ask questions for any med you are given. If you don't ask, the doctor assumes you don't care. There are no magic pills and there are no magic cures. There are helpful medications and there are marvelous returns to health. With the Internet, use it wisely. You can find someone somewhere to support any view you want. Doesn't mean it is complete or accurate. Good luck on your treatment. Stay well. Karen
I was on prednisone for 5 days for a bad sinus and bronchial infection. starting on day one with 6 pills, and titrating down to 1 pill on the 5th day. I am now 5 days off this med and I am an emotional mess. I am overwhelmed, sad, experiencing crying jags, I am not myself and I am keenly aware that I am not in control. This is awful. How long until this feeling stops?
Absoluely!!! It will pass. Be sure to advice your dr that the steriods are affecting your mental health. Im not sure how long they stay in your system but I do know it is a decent amount of time. They keep on working after you stop taking them for quite a while is what I mean. good luck and remember, its just the meds..youre ok!
Thank you ALL for the great info. I did go back on the Zyban yesterday, hoping that might help lift my spirits and help me back OFF the cigarettes! It was really difficult to quit smoking and having 8 weeks under my belt - I'm so disappointed that I allowed myself to fall back. For me, having an idea of how long I might suffer with these side effects (ie. how long the prednisone stays in my system), really helps me to go forward. If it was going to be 6 months, I would go directly to my GP and insist on something to counteract it. Since it should only be a couple more weeks, I will try the zyban and just wait it out. I will mention the problems when I see the ENT specialist next week who prescribed it. If she feels I need something more - I will consider it. Again, I can't thank you enough for helping me get through this!
Upset, Give yourself a pat on the back for stopping the smoking. It's great you went back on zyban. It's a great med to stop smoking. I wish you the best of luck for your smoking cessation and wish you well on your depression... God bless.
Thank you friends!
Upset .. Prednisone does cause depression, as well stays in your system for a long time, but since you were on it a short time it could maybe stay in your body for about 2 to 3 weeks. Drinking plenty of water will help you to flush it out of your system. The Zyban (Wellbutrin) should help you with your depression, however, it may cause you to be nervous, and hyper, Also prednisone can also cause the feelings of nervousness, so try taking the Zyban before 2:00 pm. You may want to ask the doctor to give you an antidepressant while you are having those feelings. If it were me I would try to stay away from Xanax as it is very addicting and hell to get off of. I hope this has helped... pamee
FYI. Low dose Xanax is not an issue when on this drug as it is temporary in this situation. Higher doses for anxiety disorders can cause problems as they are long term. All it does is counteract the fast heart rate and quick mood changes for the month or so one is on this.
Regarding how long it is in your system is not the problem. Half life is reasonablely short. The issue is that the adrenals shut down when over ten mg. In a month they shrink a bit. In long term use it can take months to years to recover. In this case, the immune system is most affected as the adrenals will recover fairly quickly. After use of prednisone one needs to remind a physician about it for six months or longer about the use of this med as the ability to fight infections has been compromised.
This was explained to me by my doctor. Hopefully I have phrased it correctly. Karen
Prednisone not only causes depression but can also be a big mood swinger... especially agitation. Tell your health care provider if you are feeling any of these to any great degree. This drug may be helpful to many but the side affects are very real and can catch you off guard so be aware of this and others. It would be GREAT if they could invent a similar drug that was safe and have much less negative side affects but I suppose they have tried, knowing how badly prednisone can affect people negatively. No Xanax please. One bad drug after another. Shaking the affects of Xanax can be nightmarish. Do NOT let your doctor talk you into any Xanax type drug either. Easy fix for him... BAD fix for you. Allen L
You were also on zyban, which is wellbutrin, and antidepressant, so that could be playing into the depression too.
- Prednisone uses and safety info
- Prednisone information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side effects of Prednisone (detailed)
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