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Suggest remedy for steroid psychosis

Answered by
Dr. Prasanna Heijebu

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2010

Answered : 1423 Questions

Posted on Sat, 7 Nov 2015 in Headache and Migraines
Question: My daughter was prescribed prednisone for a rash a couple of weeks ago, and went into adrenal crisis when she wanted to stop the large dose 60mg. Now she is on 30 mg. and we are trying to decrease this, and she is having severe psychological reactions. I can honestly say she has lost her mind. She needs 24 hour care right now, and we are exhausting ourselves and do not know what to do. We went to a local hospital and the MD increased her dose, and we are trying to decrease gradually, but she is having hallucinations, panic attacks, and cannot take care of herself. She has not slept more than an hour to two hours per night, and last night she did not sleep at all, and was seeing things all night long. Please help. Please do not tell us to go to a neurologist. She needs to get off this stuff.
Answered by Dr. Prasanna Heijebu 6 hours later
Brief Answer:
Possible steroid psychosis.

Detailed Answer:
Hello, Madam.

I can certainly understand your concerns.

I have carefully gone through your daughter's medical issue in detail.

Based on her symptoms, she probably seem to have a condition known as steroid psychosis.

Steroid psychosis is a psychotic disorder caused by the use of corticosteroid medications. Affected people develop psychiatric symptoms such as depression and mania.

Researchers believe steroid psychosis occurs when high doses of corticosteroids cause an increase in dopamine levels in the brain. Increased dopamine levels lead to symptoms such as depression, mood swings and psychosis(hallucinations and illusions). Corticosteroids also lower the serotonin levels in the brain, worsening the patient's depressive symptoms.

Sleep pattern can be grossly deranged.

This condition can be treated by weaning off the steroid medications.

Additionally a short course of drugs like sedative anxiolytics like Clonazepam and Antipsychotics like Clozapine will help. I generally recommend my patients with such drugs. Please check with your physician if he shares my view and if can prescribe them to you.

The outcome is usually good.

Post your further queries if any.
Thank you.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
Follow up: Dr. Prasanna Heijebu 3 hours later
Ok, thank you so much. I am so relieved that we are on the right track about what we are trying to do. Here is our tapering schedule. I would really appreciate your reviewing and advice about this. We are here to help our son-in-law through this, and are intending to support him by staying here with him till October 31, based on his schedule. From what we have read online, the last few days may be the hardest, but any encouraging words are appreciated. We also are not likely to choose the prescriptions you advised, but we will look them up. We are shocked by the outcome of this medication in her, and want to stay as natural as possible. But we will look into them. Here is the schedule: Oct. 16 - 17 / 25 mg; Oct. 18 - 19 /20 mg; Oct. 20 - 21 / 15 mg; Oct. 22 - 23 / 10 mg; Oct. 24 - 25 / 5 mg; Oct. 26 - 27 / 2.5 mg, and then we are bit lost....maybe decreasing by 1 milligram for a couple of days at a time. This means we will be tapering slowly. It has been very exhausting but we are taking rest shifts and teaching her all kinds of breathing and thought strategies, making calming teas, and keeping as calm as possible. Thank you.
Answered by Dr. Prasanna Heijebu 20 hours later
Brief Answer:
Recommended tapering schedule provided.

Detailed Answer:
Hello, Sir/Madam.

I can surely understand your concern.

I apologize for the delayed response owing to my hectic work schedule.

The best tapering schedule is over 12 days instead of 14 days, as earlier stopping will help the adrenal gland to recover, adjust and function normally by making its own source of steroids.

The schedule I recommend is as follows.

Since your daughter is currently on 30 mg which is equivalent to 3 tabs of 10 mg each. Considering each tablet of 10mg-

Day 1 take 3 tablets
Day 2 take 3 tablets-30mg
Day 3 take 2 tablets-30mg
Day 4 take 2 tablets-20mg
Day 5 take 1.5 tablets-20mg
Day 6 take 1.5 tablets-20mg
Day 7 take 1 tablets-10mg
Day 8 take 1 tablets-10mg
Day 9 take 0.5 tablets-5mg
Day 10 take 0.5tablets-5mg
Day 11 take 0.25tablet-2.5mg
Day 12 take 0.25 tablet-2.5mg

For day last four days, it is advisable to go for liquid form of Prednisone, available as Prednisone Intensol(in case if you find difficulty in breaking the tablet into required dose). Each ml contains 5mg of prednisone. This will help for a fine tapering.

Day 1 can be taken as 18th Oct and Day 12 can be taken as Oct 29th.From 30th Oct you can stop the drug completely.

If symptoms are severe during the tapering , addition of clonazepam lowest doses will help to ease the process to successful outcome.

Please check with your physician if he can prescribe this tapering schedule to you.

Post your further queries if any,
Thank you.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
Follow up: Dr. Prasanna Heijebu 59 minutes later
Anyway, within only 21 hours I was able to receive at least three replies with your intelligent and professional answer to my concerns. I am so grateful for your skills. Love and prayers go out for you so that you can keep earnestly providing guidance and health information, as you have for me. Thank you.

Sincerely, xxxxxx
Answered by Dr. Prasanna Heijebu 49 minutes later
Brief Answer:
You are always Welcome.

Detailed Answer:
Hi Mam/Sir,

You are always Welcome.

You can ask me any further queries on my dashboard in future.

Hope everything will be fine.

My best wishes to you,your daughters and son in law.

Take care,

Thank you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T

The User accepted the expert's answer

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