What a difficult place to be in!
I would never recommend steroids for long term unless it was absolutely last resort, but…
I took them for about 9 months before I could get biologics. And I have no doubt that without them, I would have lost my job, and possibly even my grip on life.
In fact I’m taking humira right now that’s generally doing a good job - but I’ve had terrible fatigue, minor pain, general feeling of unwellness, and a mild temperature for a couple of weeks now that culminated in me sleeping 14 hours today (I was supposed to be working from home due to the G20 in brisbane). So I took 15mg ‘rescue’ pred today,(and slept through that, hmmm) and am trying to decide if I will take some more and have a nice weekend… Or muscle through.
A comment I would make in terms of the dose though is that if you keep taking it 3 times a day (what they prescribed to me - like its a standard NSAID), you are most likely to experience difficulty sleeping within a few days. If that happens, it is worth considering 10mg on waking, then 5mg at lunch, so you are winding down at dinner and ready to sleep.
I am pleased to hear the first 5mg is genuinely taking the edge off - chances are you’ll get a great pred holiday like I did when I first took them!
Ps. Yep - almost unable to walk - had to rest at the bus stop between my carpark and work - it was only a block. I’m familiar with that boat, as I am sure many on this site are and would prefer not to be… I kept my job, got promoted, and most of the time don’t think anything of the walk from the carpark to work except how nice it is to be outside on such a beautiful day.
Pps. It’s not just belly fat and chipmunk cheeks (though that too). I’ve got osteoporosis of the spine like an 80 yo (I’m under 40), that’s what my family is susceptible to - ducked pretty much everything else (including weight gain) except the mood swings. The largest impact on bone density is made in the First Three Months. So think really hard if your docs try to claim it’s not terribly harmful ‘as long as it’s not high dose’ to stop you from moving to biologics. My understanding is that Pred is a poor DMARD - it shouldn’t be used for any length of time as primary medication - only as an occasional rescue med. but you need to discuss that with your Rheumy, and understand the pros and cons (or Prof - by the way - my rheumy prescribes biologics, so I’m not sure that they are communicating with you clearly on the need for the prof in the biologics prescription process?)