Is Prednisone the Miracle Drug?


I am a 21 year old male here in the States, finishing up my last semester here at college. now THIS. 4 weeks later: am I finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel?

My Colitis Experience (With Prednisone)

I have been healthy my entire life. But that all changed 4 weeks ago: Diarrhea.

Week 1.  At first I thought “Okay, probably just your run of the mill diarrhea. could’ve been something i ate.” I went to the store and bought some generic over-the-counter stuff like loperamide and pepto-bismol but none of it worked. Unfortunately, the timing was not great – we were getting into final exams at this time. “I’ll just tough it out” I remembered saying.

By the end of week 1, my stools were getting really loose and there began to be signs of blood. But still, I decided not to go home to my doctor. I just didn’t have the time. I was going about 10 times a day, some more urgent than others. To counteract these unfriendly frequent bathroom runs, I began to eat less – that was the only thing I found that helped.

Finished all my exams. Week 3.

Now the diarrhea was getting even worse;

and I was not even eating anything!

I immediately went home to see my doctor and she put me on Cipro (antibiotics). I probably had infectious diarrhea, she said. I took the meds for 5 days and still nothing. I didn’t want to eat; and whatever I did came right out. Bloody stools all the time now. Sometimes i would feel like I HAVE to go, but I would just find myself straining on the bowel – nothing but a few drips of blood. I’ve lost 15 pounds by now.

NEW YEARS EVE. I went to the ER. I felt like I was going to pass out. I was really dehydrated. They examined me, gave me some saline and took some stool samples and sent me back on my merry way. They told me to come back in a week. !@ck them. Without a confirmed diagnosis, they said they couldn’t give me any medication. I was very frustrated; I didn’t want to be taking any more medications that wasn’t helping. Anyway, another painful week passed and the results came back: not a bacteria/virus infection.

Week 4: PAIN. I felt like my entire left side was burning, like there was a ball sandpaper in my intestines. I drove back to the ER. This time, the doctors did a CT scan and a Colonoscopy.

Diagnosis: severe-to-moderate Ulcerative Colitis

throughout my entire colon. Fantastic.

By now I was going about 30 times/day, all bloody stools, swollen rectum and still eating practically nothing.
This time, the doctors admitted me for a week and put me on a saline/glucose/morphine drip. That and a liquid diet.

I was discharged one week ago. I was prescribed Asacol (mesalamine) to take 3 times-a-day, 1200mg-per-time. I took it for about 4 days but saw no effect: nothing!!
I went back to the doctor two days ago for another consultation (my biopsy came back: still ulcerative colitis) and complained. Nothing was getting better! This time, they gave me Prednisone, at 40mg/day, and told me that it was a more aggressive form of treatment.

Prednisone, the God-Given-Cure?? (knock on wood)

Okay, I kid you not. The very day I took prednisone (yesterday), my runs to the bathroom stopped. STOPPED. I went from 27 times the day before to 3 times. The stools were still very loose and watery, but 3 times?!? Today, which is day two, I haven’t had to go yet!

Does Prednisone work this quickly?

Or has the asacal finally kicked in?

Moreover, perhaps what is most miraculous, my appetite came back! For the past two days i have developed an ENORMOUS appetite. I’ve been eating 3 regular meals with my family – I haven’t been able to eat for 4 weeks! Where is this food even going?!?!

Finally, I’d like to say a thanks to Adam for making this site. It is truly great to have an online home where there is such a wonderful group of people who understands, have gone / is going through what you are going through. I hope that things will turn for the better soon!

written by “College Student

Submitted in the Colitis Venting Area

22 thoughts on “Is Prednisone the Miracle Drug?”

  1. I know it seems like a good drug, but it has a lot of side effects, a lot of which are long term.
    I suggest using it to for a week or so while on asacol and a good diet like the SCD and get the bowels calm, get off pred, stay on asacol till you are healled up pretty good and try to go strictly to the SCD diet. ITs a healthy way to eat for sure and easy on the colon.
    I have had UC since 2004 and asacol works for me, but I choose not to be on it and try to do the SCD diet as nutritional therapy. I am currently in a small flare due to me eating like crap and cheating during the holidays. I will get through this though.

  2. Hello.

    Everyone’s experience with the drugs you’ve mentioned can be different. Asacol and any other drug with the mesalamine drug did not work for me. My doctor kept telling me to take more and more – up to 12 a day at one point. Prednisone, and entocort (a milder form of steriod) was and remains the only drug that works for me.

    I know I have been on it way too long – 3 1/2 years and started the SCD diet last week. My doctor was really pushing me to go the either Remicade or Humira as a solution this year but I have decided to try the SCD diet first. My gastro doctor is not supportive of the SCD diet at all but I told him that I was going to try it first.

    Best of luck.

  3. Great story here. It seems stressful situations bring on bad flares… In regards to the Prednisone, it’s fantastic at bringing remission. Did you go to the toilet more frequently (around 2 times a day) for a few months before your full-blown flare? Or did you go normally then WHAM, you got pancolitis?

    Either way, my mesalazine (Pentasa) didn’t take effect for 2 months but the Prednisolone (I live in the UK, sorry, different medication!) worked within 3 days. IV steroids worked within hours. I’m so glad you’re better and I hope your 5-ASA meds will keep you in remission!

    Sophie xx

  4. I was diagnosed in August 2010 after years of being told I had IBS. That was until I started bleeding profusely and had tests including a sigmoidoscopy, then a colonoscopy after which I was told I had Ulcerative Colitis. They were going to operate but decided to try the drugs route instead. They put me on 40 mg Prednisolone straight away, along with Mezavant XL 2400mg and shortly after sent me for a barium x-ray where they told me I had Crohns as well. I still continued to bleed but not so much until around January 2011 when then proscribed Predfoam 20mg, this finally stopped the bleeding but not the frequent trips to the toilet or the pain. Whilst on the Prednisolone my weight increased from what I had gone down to, around 147lbs up to what I am now approximately 210lbs, I’m 6ft tall and definitely look much healthier than the skeleton I had become. The effects of Prednisolone were unusual and apart from the weight I began to regain, I felt much better in myself, had boundless energy but could not sleep only requiring on some nights as little as 2 hours. I finally took my last dose of Prednisolone in August of 2011, having gradually reduced dosage over a period of about 6 weeks. I still take the Mezavant XL 2400mg per day but did increase to 4800mg for a short period in, I think it was November as I started to see traces of blood in my stools. My doctor will not let me come off the Mezavant as he reckons as soon as I do the bleeding will come back with a vengeance. I don’t use the Predfoam but keep it handy just in case I start to get a serious flare. I can’t say the pain as ever gone away, its just not as severe everyday as it use to be but that’s not to say I don’t still get bad days, I do. My worse time is after I use the toilet and usually at night which of course very often stops me sleeping. In the daytime I take the painkiller Co-Codemol when its really bad or if I am going out as they seem to help settle my stomach. I also now take a low dose of Amitripyline, not for depression but because my consultant seems to think the drug may help relieve some of the pain, although to be honest I’ve not noticed them making any difference.

  5. hey!

    As someone who was also diagnosed while in college I wanted to give my perspective. Prednisone. It does seem like a miracle drug at first, especially when you are looking for the quick and easy fix, which in college that is life. Anytime I was worried about studying, sitting in class, or going out drinking I was instantly soothed by the fact I knew prednisone would fix everything. BAD NEWS, eventually it caught up to me, bad side effects started happening (moon face, weight gain, mood swings) I honestly didn’t feel like myself anymore. Not trying to scare you or intentionally “downing” the drug (well kinda) but in some cases it is definitely necessary. But be smart and for sure only take it in short periods of time, and deff never think of it as your “go-to” drug as I did. Having UC means changing your way of thinking and lifestyle, rather than taking drugs to maintain the way you’re living now (in myyyy opinion). Best of luck, and happy pooping.


  6. IMHO, prednisone definitely is not a wonder drug. while it provides some relief, it is temporary. the drug masks the UC and causes a host of side effects (as described by others, above). i would not look to prednisone as a long term solution.

  7. I just started my 3d round of Pred. And I’m very upset. Round 1 was wonderful. Round 2 didn’t work as well. It was a temporary fix. Now im on round 3 because this body does not want to heal. I’ve been on Asacol for while. I’m 33 and have had UC for 9ish years. My doc also just put me on 6mp. So im waiting for that to kick in. And I’m terrified. I feel for you. I can’t believe how long it took for you to get a diagnosis. How sad. This disease is nasty. And it’s going to be a tough road ahead. Do your body a favor and don’t stay on Pref for too long. It has major side effects. Bad ones! Good luck.

  8. Thank you all so much. Indeed, I hope that my dependence on Prednisone will come to an end soon, and that I won’t have to experience all these horrible horrible side effects everyone speaks of! My biggest fear right now lies in the unknown. What will happen from now? Next week? A month? Will my flare continue to subside? What else should I be doing? I still have a semester left at school and we begin next week! That said, I am willing to make the sacrifices that needs to be made – changing my lifestyle to adapt to my new self.

    Over these past few days, I’ve finally had some time to recollect and to think about all that has happened over the past month. Life is life and these things happen. I think that this illness was a fair warning for me to take better care of my body. Work and school has taken its toll: weeks of little sleep, stress, work, eat whatever I can whenever I can, not exercising. It’s all finally caught up it seems like. Still, I won’t let this get in the way of my goals and ambitions – I will find a way to adapt. I hope to maintain a good attitude through all of this and hope that things will turn for the better soon. It takes something like this to make one realize just how important and valuable the little things in life are, and how often we’ve chosen to ignore them.


    1. Hey Friend,

      I hear what you’re saying about feeling sorta guilty for not taking care of yourself, and I suppose it is possible this may have played into the UC deal. Buuuuuuuuuut, don’t beat yourself up. I was probably eating the most healthy diet of my life when I came down with UC. We had planted a garden that year and I was eating all sorts of organic, homegrown stuff. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to this disease. That said, we can all take better care of ourselves – take the opportunity to evaluate and start new, better habits. That’s a good thing. But don’t stew about what might’ve been. Chances are, you didn’t bring on UC by being a typical college student. : )


  9. Please please please try a ‘critical care’ probiotic…I swear! It sounds too easy to be true, but after just two days on one pill with 50 billion probiotics, my pain was gone, and now two weeks later, things are much firmer in the bathroom department AND the bleeding is barely there! I almost feel normal! No pain at all! I don’t even feel like I have colitis antmore. I can’t believe it myself. Why don’t doctors tell us to at least try these natural things? Our colons need the healthy bacteria, obviously, and something triggers us losing that, and then we have a flare up. I am a believer now!! I even want to discontinue the 12 pills of asacol that I am taking, too, but I am afraid to…yet…but I am feeling so good, I just might!

    I’ve only ever taken the steroid enemas, never oral steroids, and I refuse to. The enemas were powerful enough to give me alot of unwanted side effects, although they did clear the UC up. I won’t take steroids again, ever. Just a bit of advice…steroids are bad news, long term.

    Good luck,

  10. Hi College Student,
    My UC story is very much the same as yours. The first time that I used prednisone I thought that it was some sort of miracle drug. Heck, after months of misery, I felt like a new person in 2 or 3 days!
    The second time that I started the pred it took two weeks to see the benefit…….. and the third time I started on it ( which was 3 weeks ago)……. it is taking even longer to see some positive results.
    Considering all the NASTY side effects, this is a drug I am determined to stop using as soon as possible. I hate it.
    IT SUCKS!!!

    George in Napa

  11. Hey there College Student..

    Prednisone does seem like a miracle drug at first. I know I felt that way when I had my first two flare ups. However, get off of it quick!! The side effects are nasty! I have been on prednisone since Thanksgiving and I am being weined off currently. I have moon face, severe joint pain and my muscles are so weak that I have to push myself out of a chair with my arms in order to get up. And before being diagnosed with UC in October of 2011 I was a very athletic girl. Never thought I would need help help out of a freaking chair. So just get in, take the prednisone and get off of it quick! Long term is a bad!

  12. I took 60mg of Prednisone for 2 1/2 weeks before I saw any change. Prior to taking it my symptoms were just bloody stools. Normal consistency. Just pain and blood. 1 day after starting prednisone my stools became very loose. And I started seeing bits of food coming out as well. And it smelled horrendous! After 3 days my stools became more firm but the smell was still insane. About 3 weeks into taking prednisone I started seeing dramatically less blood and less pain. At this point I believe I was down to 40mg. Tapering 10mg each week until I was off. That was 2 years ago and my stools have still not returned to normal and depending on what I eat I still see bits in the bowl (and strange smells). Not much blood though. Urgency is still very bad too…I’ve been on Lialda since then.

  13. First of all, thanks so much all of you for your encouraging words. I wanted to get a better understanding of what you guys mean when you say ‘long term use.’ Is that one week? two weeks? a month? several months? and at what doses?

    I have taking Prednisone at 40 mg/day for the past 7 days. For the past week my bowel movements have been progressively getting better. Currently, I go about once a day (but really 3-4 BM in series, usually all within 20 minutes of each other, so everything empties out), Stools have been getting firmer, closer to what’s normal. The amount of blood has decreased, and so has the discomfort and pain.

    I have a doctor’s appointment this Monday. I will definitely be asking her about the Prednisone situation then.

    Oh. I have eating MUCH better. Currently I would say I’m eating even more than I used to! But I have been eating much healthier. Cooked vegetables. Rice. Bread. Fish. Eggs. Lean meat. and WATER.

  14. Hey all,

    I’m very glad I found this site. I was diagnosed with Mild UC back in the summer. Doc put me on a
    suppository at first and then moved to an enema when that wasn’t working. I’m currently on the sixth month of my most recent flare up. I don’t have blood and usually only have one or two BMs a day. The problems I experience the most are urgency and SEVERE cramping. Even more inconvenient is that I usually cannot get off the toilet for about and hour each movement. It’s affecting work and general life. I changed my diet and even began taking a probiotic. Unfortunately the probiotic made things substantially worse. I’m
    seeing my doctor Monday and he is putting me on Prednisone. So do you all suggest that I take the prednisone for a short while and jump off quick to the probiotic and a better diet? Any advice would help!

  15. Im glad to see that prednisone is working for all of you. I just started the drug on 5/31/12 at 40 mg tappering every two weeks. As soon as I started taking it I thought ” wow, why wasnt I given this before?” Well until the 9th day of being on it. I literally woke up and felt like I was dying. I had all of the following side effects
    Difficulty sleeping; feeling of a whirling motion; increased sweating; indigestion; mood changes; nervousness.

    difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; appetite loss; black, tarry stools; changes in menstrual periods; depression; diarrhea; dizziness; exaggerated sense of well-being; fever; general body discomfort; headache; increased pressure in the eye; joint or muscle pain; mood swings; muscle weakness; personality changes;blurred vision: prolonged sore throat, cold, or fever; severe nausea:weakness; weight loss.emotional instability and irritability, euphoria, hallucinations, headache, impaired cognition, incidence of severe psychiatric symptoms,

    I actually went to the ER because I was having numbness in my arms and tightness in my chest on inhalation thought maybe signs of a heart attack. So they did xray, and EKG. Everything there was normal. BP was 152/98 . BAD thing that the med that is keeping my UC undercontrol is making my life seem out of control with all the mood swings and everything else that comes with it. My experience at the ER was not a good one, cause when the nurse started asking questions, I told her I didnt know if it was a heart problem or side effects of the medication. Finally doc comes in and says well its not cardiac, I think it is GI issues, lets try a GI cocktail. I didnt think that would help but what could it hurt? So I sit and finish up some paper work with one of the ladys in my room, the nurse comes in and lays discharge papers on my bed and walks out. I finish up paper work with the other lady and she leaves. The “wonderful” nurse comes and rips the curtain open and says” YOUR STILL HERE?” Looking at me you would be able to tell I am still in distress. I had to shut down on her before ROID rage took over. I cried out of control, saying nothing. Then this princess of a nurse says” I AM 43 YEARS OLD AND I HAVE HEART HISTORY IN MY FAMILY AND I HAVE NO HEART PROBLEMS”! Finally I lost it, crying and yelling ” I told everyone from the time I walked in I didnt know if it was heart or a medication issues, everyone wants to blame this on GI!!! BUT since NOONE will listen to me I will be fine!!!! I never did get the GI cocktail, I got a prescribed xantax (for reflux) and pretty much kicked out of the door to handle this on my own. I am a small female, 5’1 and 134lbs. I dont think my body can handle 40mg of prednisone daily.

    I called my GI doc, to see if I could tapper ASAP! He said to go to 30mg, I have tappered the last two days, I dont feel that I am AS pred-crazy as I did , but the flares are coming back. So in a situation like this what is one to do? I think the 40mg will keep UC under control but make my head out of wack or with lesser doses have UC flares and just be half crazy?

    Anyone else experience this? I am a college student, I have one week left that consist of just 3 finals….. so I cant have the pain of the UC and I also can be a wacky on the 40mg of prednisone either.

    PLEASE HELP!!!!!!

    1. I have had ulcerative colitis since 1996. When it first occurred it started with the diarrhea and then the blood in the stools. After the tests I was diagnosed with the ulcerative colitis. The doctor gave me some medication that was not working and I wanted to die from the cramping. The then started giving me the prednisone big doses and my face did get round and started breaking out which never happened to me ever in my life and it was depressing. I then called a cousin who had ulcerative colitis and she said she took sulfasalzine and then he presribed it to me. I then took lower doses of prednisone and I still take it after all these years but only 1/2 of a 5 milligram pill with along the the sulfasalazine. I have been given other medications but they do not work for me. I learned how to take care of myself and when I have a big flare up I keep taking my medication but I also get a presciption for mesalamine rectal usp enemas and if I take them every day for a week and it makes me better. But I do know I will have this disease for the rest of my life and just have learned to live with it.

  16. Hi there,

    My 20 year old son was diagnosed with ulcerative proctitis last year. He is now a junior in college and going through a pretty significant flare. He has a lot of pain and bloody diarrhea. At times, he feels as though he has to go badly and it just ends up being blood. He was put on 30 mg of Prednisone 6 days ago along with Canasa suppositories. He feels a little better but is still up 5 times a night going to the bathroom. Is this normal? Does it take awhile for the prednisone to take full effect? Also, he is only taking one Canasa a night instead of the prescribed two. The reason for this is that they’re $606.00 for 30 after they swipe my insurance card. Since I need to be able to make my house payment, I am having the Canasa sent from a Canadian pharmacy where they’re $220.00 for 90. I am hoping that they arrive soon, as I think this may help him further. Any advice that anyone can give would be very appreciated.

  17. I thought contact dermatitus was bad and Prednisone was my saviour and it is, but I hope the very best for all of you. At the very least, the drug gave you some relief in the beginning. Best wishes from me. Take good care.

  18. Hi all, I’m in the camp who says get off prednizone asap . I’m in my 50’s now but in the late 1970’s I had bad UC. I was on prednizone for a few months IV. I eventually went crazy, had a seizure and came very close to death. The funny part was that after the seizure was the first time I had non bloody stools. Unfortunately I was transferred to another hospital and another gi Doctor who weaned me off the prednizone and the bloody diarrhea returned. A few years later the doctor took my colon, the whole thing was destroyed, so off it went to body part heaven along with my rectal muscles and a few years later my tonsils. I have a theory that the reason for the flare ups, in my case at least, is mucus from the nasal area being swallowed and making its way to your colon. I remember that my stool was both bloody and full of mucus, really gross. I think it happened because my nose could not deal with the dry hot air heat in the house I grew up in. I. Priced. Ollie kid got uc in December and January, coincidence, I think not. My symptoms use to subside in the summer and get worse in the winter. I highly recommend trying a hunidifier if you have a dry hot air heating system. I’m not. Doctor, so my theory is probably just that, but I’d love to see if anyone else who has mucus in their poo is able to reduce it by using a humidifier. I actually use a cpap breathing machine and whereas I used to cough every day and had a lot of mucus, now I have none! For me it is a miracle.

    Anyway, at 21 in 1983 the doctors decided to remove my colon so I’ll never know if the cpap would have cured my u.c.

    About 3 weeks ago I got wicked bad poison ivy went to the urgent care center and she put me on 60mg prednizone for 7 days. I took 60 for 2 days, then Taperred myself to 40 for two days and then 20 for 3 days and now on 10 for 5 days. But then I will be off of peednizone completely. Hopefully never to return to it.

    For some prednizone is a miracle drug for others it is really bad, for some like me at 22 back in the late 70’s early 80’s it was almost deadly, be careful with prednizone and try the cpap breathing machine if you have the congestion and mucus that I experienced with my bloody diahrhea when I was 20.

    Be careful with all of the drugs you are taking. In addition to losing hair and pumpkin face, and an almost deadly seizure and all of the other horrible Symptoms I also developed weak bones and ended up in a back brace after taking that awful I.v prednizone back when I was 20.

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