Does Prednisone Make You Hungry?

Question

Asked by Meme

Does Prednisone Make You Hungry?

I had carpal tunnel surgery in Dec. In February had a big flare in my hands, more on my surgery hand. My Rheumy gave me a script of Prednisone and it seemed to get better. I am done with prednisone and 5 pounds heavier. My flare is back and my doc wants to give me predisone again, I am just plain afraid to take it. I also take Humira, Arava and Plaqunil.

Answer

Hi there,

Several things can throw your body out of whack and trigger a flare. Surgery is one of those things - any trauma to the body can disturb your equilibrium and surgery can definitely be described as a trauma. It can take some time to get back on track and sometimes you need a bit of extra help. Prednisone is a wonderful medication that can help control your flare, but it does come with some side effects. Prednisone can stimulate the appetite and therefore cause you to gain weight. Does that mean you shouldn't take it? Not necessarily.

Protecting your joints from damage is extremely important. When you are flaring, the disease activity can create deformities that can affect your mobility in the future and increase your chances of disability. After the surgery, it's obvious that your body needed some extra help to respond to the disease suppressing medications you're already taking. The fact that you're still flaring when you went off the prednisone indicates that your body still needs extra help to get back on top. If your doctor feels is important you take medication, I suggest that you talk to them about your concerns, but perhaps consider following their recommendations.

Keep in mind that gaining 5 pounds is not a significant weight gain. We're all taught to focus a lot on our weight and to diet if we gain a few extra grams, but I think it's important to look at things from a different perspective. Look at it this way: prednisone may cause you to gain a bit of extra weight gain, but not taking prednisone may put you at risk for permanent damage to your joints.

Moreover, if you're not flaring, you can be more physically active, which can help you keep ahead of weight gain. As I mentioned above, prednisone will stimulate the appetite, but when you are hungry make sure you eat healthy food, instead of snacking on cookies and junk food. Carry a bag of baby carrots, eat apples, granola and trail mix (perhaps make it yourself to control the sugar content). Between the ability to be more physically active - swimming can be a terrific exercise for people with RA - and healthy food, you should be able to keep the weight gain to a minimum.

Please keep us posted on what happens?

Answered by Lene Andersen, MSW