Prednisone and joint pain

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

Prednisone is often used to treat joint pain symptoms.

Prednisone is used to treat the symptoms of many types of inflammatory arthritis including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, Reiter’s disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, polymyalgia rheumatica, and giant cell arteritis. It is extremely effective for temporarily controlling symptoms. It acts by blocking the effects of cyclooxygenase, an enzyme that is responsible for the production of prostaglandins.

Prednisone dosing is variable depending on the severity of the problem. While it is extremely effective it does have potential


If a patient takes a corticosteroid like prednisone for more than a few weeks, they cannot discontinue it suddenly. Disease symptoms (like shortness of breath with asthma or joint pain with arthritis) can get worse. In fact, too rapid a reduction of prednisone often leads to more joint pain. If a patient has been on a high dose for a long period of time and they abruptly stop it, they can die. Carefully follow the doctor’s instructions for decreasing the dose.

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