Coping With Prednisone and Other Cortisone-Related Medicines : It May Work Miracles, but How Do You Handle the Side Effects?

Approximately one million Americans per year take high doses of prednisone and related drugs (glucocorticoids) to treat serious illnesses and conditions ranging from asthma to rheumatoid arthritis to kidney disease to organ transplantation. Wile these medicines may have unpleasant, even devastating side effects, including gastrointestinal problems, intense mood swings, changes in hair and skin, and increased susceptibility to infection, they may also be the only treatment available for serious or life-threatening illnesses.

When the world-renowned flutist Eugenia Zuckerman was prescribed prednisone to combat a rare lung disease, she teamed up with her sister, Julie R. Ingelfinger, a well-known specialist in pediatric nephrology and hypertension at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, to write the first ever, comprehensive guide for patients undergoing this difficult treatment.

Packed with everything your doctor didn’t have time to tell you, including recipes, exercises, and tips based on personal experience, Coping with Prednisone is an invaluable handbook for health-care workers, caregivers, and especially for patients themselves.

When flutist Eugenia Zukerman developed a rare lung disease and began taking the powerful drug prednisone as part of her treatment, she was subjected–with little choice and less preparation–to a barrage of side effects: intense mood swings, bloating, changes in her hair and skin, gastrointestinal problems, and more. Physician (and sister) Julie was shocked to discover how few materials were available to help patients cope with this difficult medication. Together, the distinguished sisters created a highly readable, easy-to-understand, and complete guide through the treatment experience.

Coping with Prednisone begins with the basics, leading readers through the many promises and perils of prednisone, from its side effects to a diet that promises to “beat the bloat and the munchies” with helpful recipes. What makes this guide compelling is not only the easy-to-chew, easy-to-digest presentation, but also the sisters’ unique way through it. They include information on such common yet daunting problems as changing doctors, treatment for the very young and very old, long-term medication, and withdrawal from high-dose steroids. Tables analyzing generic and brand-name drugs, various preparations, and organizations that offer help conclude this outstanding and much-needed volume.

 

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