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Crohn's Disease Forum » Treatment » Prednisone/Entocort » Prednisone and Panic Attacks


05-18-2011, 08:59 PM   #1
SdN
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Prednisone and Panic Attacks

Has anyone experienced panic attacks after having completed a course of prednisone? I don't mean while taking prednisone but I mean just after having weaned yourself off of it. About 3 weeks ago I finished tapering off of it after having used it at 40mg for around 2 months. Since then I've had a couple of full blown panic attacks as well as lots of anxiety coupled with some bad headaches. The headaches are almost daily and I've already had a couple of MRIs for them which have shown nothing.

I've never experienced anything like this before so it's hard to believe that it's not somehow related to my time on prednisone. I'm trying my best to get rest and to stay relaxed but the panic attack/anxiety episodes are terrifying. I'd like to try to get some answers before I have to start taking yet another drug (xanax, zoloft etc.) to deal with this newfound problem. My hope is that it is a side-effect of prednisone and that my body will one day balance itself out again but I don't know if that's a realistic expectation.

Anyone else out there with similar experiences?
05-20-2011, 05:54 AM   #2
Pirate
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Sorta, I had them during the Pred, but they stayed for a long time after the treatment ended. I never had migraines until after I started with the pred either. My did go away over time, though on occasion I will get a anxiety attack but it doesn't last long.

The migraines were bad. They would last 3-4 days. My wife finally called a chiropractor and I started getting my neck adjusted and they slowly went away. He explained to me how the Pred breaks down the calcium in your body and the migraines can be caused by this. He showed me my x-ray of my neck and said imagine a 14lb bowling ball balancing on top of your spine. Over time when your spine is weakened due to less calcium in your bones your head is going to be off balanced on your weakened spine. It causes the spine to pinch the nerves in your neck that causes you to have migraines or severe headaches.
By adjusting the spine it helps put the head back in balance. It worked for me. Might not work for everyone, but its another option to relieve the problems.
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05-20-2011, 06:02 AM   #3
Grumbletum
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I'm tapering off at the moment and have had migraines, tho not as bad as yours. And a very sore neck which is exactly as described - like something is pinching the bones at the top of my spine. There's a lady who does therapeutic massage on the island, so I'm going to give her a call and see if she can help.
I had a sort of anxiety attack the other day but it was very mild. I was so spaced out when on the higher dose, I didn't give a damn about anything, but now the dose is going down, I think my mind is having a bit of a reality check!
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05-20-2011, 09:08 AM   #4
SdN
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Sorta, I had them during the Pred, but they stayed for a long time after the treatment ended. I never had migraines until after I started with the pred either. My did go away over time, though on occasion I will get a anxiety attack but it doesn't last long.

The migraines were bad. They would last 3-4 days. My wife finally called a chiropractor and I started getting my neck adjusted and they slowly went away. He explained to me how the Pred breaks down the calcium in your body and the migraines can be caused by this. He showed me my x-ray of my neck and said imagine a 14lb bowling ball balancing on top of your spine. Over time when your spine is weakened due to less calcium in your bones your head is going to be off balanced on your weakened spine. It causes the spine to pinch the nerves in your neck that causes you to have migraines or severe headaches.
By adjusting the spine it helps put the head back in balance. It worked for me. Might not work for everyone, but its another option to relieve the problems.

With that one reply I've learned more than I did from 3 discussions from 3 different doctors. Thank you. Beginning yesterday I actually started feeling much better so hopefully it lasts. It's good to know that I'm probably still just experiencing side effects of the dreaded Prednisone.
05-21-2011, 09:38 AM   #5
Tim
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I don't know about panic attacks but i've definetly had trouble with migraines. I've also notice that when i'm tapering off the pred i can get slightly and anxious this can be attributed to your bodies adrenal glands waking up and more adrenalin is starting to be produced. Usually over time though and more tapering your body should readjust and you'd go back to normal. maybe you're just sensitive to the withdrawl effects. my GI told me how it is a strong drug that can do that to people. I'm currently trying to find someone who will treat my headaches and joint/muscle aches as my GI won't help even though they have become more prevalent to me since i went off prednisolone too. I will say too i have had anxiety in the past and taken things like xanax which may help if it doesn't go away. But as far as i have experienced your body should adjust. Hope you feel better and sort it all out. I know how frustrating it can be. Best wishes mate - Tim
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05-21-2011, 12:05 PM   #6
Astra
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Hiya Sdn

hope you're feeling a bit better now
I suffer with neck pain and headaches too, hence the Amitriptyline, I'm loving it!
It's an anti depressant in high doses, but at 25mg it blocks the pain receptors, dunno how but it works and I slip into a coma at bedtime til morning, it's ace!
Give it a whirl, you never know!
xxxx
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05-21-2011, 10:48 PM   #7
RobMtl
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I was on Prednisone for about 8 years. I knew it had affected my bone density, but never realized it was the cause of my neck pain and headaches. I thought it was because of a 'whiplash' incident I had years earlier.
Yes, do see a chiropractor. It will definitely help with the headaches. You can also massage the back of your own neck on both sides on the spinal column. Apply firm pressure with your fingertips and also try 'rotating' your head in a circular motion with your chin raised. Hope this helps.
05-22-2011, 06:28 PM   #8
SdN
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Thanks for all of the advice everyone. I think in my case the headaches are triggered by the anxiety and it seems more than coincidental that the anxiety started as soon as I was off of pred. I've been doing alright lately but still not out of the woods yet. I really don't want to start taking another med, especially anti-depressants, but I'm just taking it a day at a time right now. We'll see how it pans out. In searching through google I did find this though

http://forums.webmd.com/.eeeb2e9

Someone else posted about the same thing I experienced on a medical website and got this reply. It gives me hope that this is steroid induced.

"Prednisone is a steroid, thus it can cause panic and mood changes because of that action. I would think that you had a non-uncommon reaction to stopping the prednisone. Usually, it's tapered down slowly to prevent this. I'm not an MD, but I don't think that you will continue to have panic attacks. This was a medication-induced side effect."
05-23-2011, 04:29 PM   #9
mkhopper
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I'm still going to bring this up to my general doc as well as my GI, but I never really put the two together.
I've now completely tapered from a max of 40mg 5 months ago and all during the 5mg phase and now a week or so after, every few days I'll get pounding headaches, which is very uncommon for me.

While it sucks and I feel for anyone else having to experience them, at least it does seem common enough that that's probably the most logical explanation.

As far as mood changes or panic attacks, my GI put me on Elavil 2 months ago. It's an anti-depressant but works well for IBS. While I initially balked a little at taking a mood-altering drug, I gotta say that it was the best move I've made yet. It's helped my CD/IBS considerably and if it's also stopping any anxiety, all the better.
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07-14-2011, 06:56 AM   #10
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The two times I've been on pred have brought me the greatest relief from headaches in my life. It didn't occur to me that I hadn't had any headaches (which used to occur several times a week since I was a child) until I was off the pred and they escalated to migraines. I was sent to a Neurologist, and the CT scans of my head turned out fine. Well, the Neuro told me the reason I'd had no headaches was BECAUSE of the pred. Go figure. I've had terrible neck pain since being off the pred as well. The doc put me on Amitriptyline (10mg) and although I've only been on it for 2 weeks, I've seen a great improvement. My neck feels much looser and I've only had a couple mild headaches. I don't know if it'll help with your panic attacks, although it is an anti-depressant as well.
My mood's better and I'm less stressed, I've had a few anxiety attacks in the past few months, but I'm also moving away from a place I hate to somewhere much more interesting very soon, so that could also be improving things.
Good luck, hope this helps.
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07-14-2011, 03:47 PM   #11
Oms
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I finished my latest course of Prednisone & can totally understand what you're going through - they're properly annoying (read painful) & basically stopped me from doing anything. Because of work & generally being broke, the solution I found was 2 extra strong paracetamol's, the ones with caffeine, in the morning, followed by a lot of water.

Another bit of advice I'd recommend to anyone on/coming off pred's is get a bone density scan - they take 20minutes & can give give a snap shot of the bone strength, my results came within 2hrs & basically told me my bones were on the verge of being rubbish, & osteoporosis was a risk, they've put me on another dose of calcuim & hopefully the scan will become a more regular thing.

With regards to the panic attacks, I found that I had more of those when I was actually on the Pred's than after the course - after cutting down & finishing the course, things will get back to normal

Hope you get well soon!
07-14-2011, 04:22 PM   #12
SdN
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I'm happy to say I've recovered from those side-effects with a new-found resolve to stay as far away from Prednisone as I can. And yes, headaches and neck-pain were things I also experienced while taking it and after tapering off of it. It really does a number on you and I'm not so sure it's worth taking anymore but let's hope the Remicade holds up so I don't have to worry about that for a long time.

Oms I'll try to remember to look into the bone density scan. The GI doc I've been working with recommended I take calcium supplements for the next 5 months but maybe I'll get it checked out to see if that's necessary.
07-22-2011, 04:12 PM   #13
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Hey SdN,
Glad to know you're doing better.
It's also comforting to know other people are going through the same thing I am. I had one panic attack while on Pred and I didn't know what to make of it. To know that it's normal for that drug is a load off.
Good health everyone.
07-23-2011, 05:21 AM   #14
Nico85
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preds DO cause anxiety and panick attacks, i had to be put on a high dose of beta blockers because of the panick attacks i was having. twice ive been on preds and twice ive had anxiety attacks on them. after about a month of being off them ive not had any, so yes is the answer.
ive not had migranes tho.

stay well
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