It is possible but somewhat unusual for the muscle spasms to be caused by prednisone withdrawal. But you might want to see your doctor for a tapering dose of prednisone and a check on other causes of muscle cramps such as electrolyte problems.
Corticosteroids and Arthritis Q & A
Steroids are quite safe in pregnancy. We use prednisone routinely in pregnant women with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. We always want to keep the dose as low as possible, however, since they can cause weight gain, hypertension and diabetes in the mom which can secondarily have some bad effects on the fetus. but, for rheumatoid arthritis, a daily low dose is quite safe.
Injected corticosteroids have the potential to enter systemic circulation and increase blood pressure. The effect is typically transient. In general, the risk of raising blood pressure by giving a steroid injection has to be weighed against the anticipated benefit–realizing that shoulder pain will raise blood pressure as well. If the injection did not help, then there would not appear to be much benefit to doing another.
Carefully and slowly. If your RA remains active you may need a medication or increase in medication to replace the effect of the steroids. In rare cases, after so many years of taking steroids, the adrenal glands stop making natural steroids which are important for normal physiology. This can be assessed after you stop taking the steroids.
Many patients with inflammatory arthritis such as RA are kept on low dose prednisone (5 to 10 mg daily) for many years. Patients tolerate prednisone differently and thus the decision to keep someone on low dose prednisone should be an individual one. Side effects increase with dose and are many. They include weight gain, easily brusinig, irritability, jitteriness. facial hair, round face, fluid retention.. It causes osteoporosis and worsens but does not cause high blood pressure, diabetes and elevated cholesterol.
I agree that taking prednisone at those doses over a long time can cause serious, even life threatening side effects. Every attempt needs to be done to get you on a lower prednisone dose. You need to carefully review which medications you have been on and make sure that you indeed did not respond to them. Combinations of medications frequently are helpful even when the medications were not helpful by themselves. Finally, you might want to be evaluated at a University center with access to the newer treatments– new biologic agents are being evaluated at an increasing rate. Good luck.