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Digestive Disorders

Prednisone

11/03/1999

Question:

I am a 28 yar old male and was diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis about 1 and a half years ago. I am taking Pentasa, Imuran, vitamins, Bentyl, and Prednisone. I am trying to reduce the amount of predisone but each time I get to 12 mg, I start to bleed again. As I reduce the prednisone I have many joint aches and feel lousy in general. I don`t like being on the 20 mg of Predisone because of the long range bone effects. Do you have any suggestions. Thanks.

Answer:

The purpose of treating patients with ulcerative colitis with Imuran (azathioprine) is to provide a substitute medication to suppress the immune system so that the prednisone can be discontinued. If you are unable to be weaned off of the prednisone this suggests that either the disease is refractory or that the Imuran is either not working or is not being given at a high enough dose. If you become dependent on prednisone to keep the colitis under control, surgical removal of the colon should be considered an option since this essentially would cure you of the disease. The dose of Imuran and surgical options should be discussed with your doctor.

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Response by:

John D Long, MD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati