Last Friday I finally had my appointment with a rheumatologist, after a six-month wait. She did an examination, asked a lot of questions, took a bunch of x-rays and blood tests. She wants to check for some other autoimmune diseases because I have a few symptoms, such as Raynaud's phenomenon and dry-eye syndrome, which are not usually typical of psoriatic arthritis.
Then she put me on a 10-day course of prednisone, as a test. She said if my symptoms are caused by inflammation, they will get better with the prednisone; if the drug has no effect, then there is a non-inflammatory cause (such as fibromyalgia).
The instructions for the drug were to take 3 pills for three days, 2 pills for three days, then taper to one pill. I took two doses on Friday but woke up Saturday with an upset stomach. Rather than stop the drug entirely, I decided to take only half a pill at time (I often have to do this, because I'm a very small person and the prescribed dosage of drugs is usually too much for me).
I've been able to tolerate half a pill if taken with food.
It's been three days now, and so far the results have been mixed. My shoulder felt better; I was able to sleep on my left side for the first time in four months. And the pain and itching of my psoriasis has completely disappeared!
But my back really hurt yesterday, and today I'm having neck problems. These could be from muscle spasms, which I guess would not respond to prednisone.
Yet I wonder if I would be getting a stronger response if I were able to tolerate a higher dosage of the drug. Or maybe it takes more time to fully work.
Has anybody else been given prednisone as a diagnostic test? Did you think it was useful? If I don't respond well to prednisone, does it mean I can't have psoriatic arthritis?