Monday, 18 March 2013
The steroid prednisone helps control pain and inflammation, but it causes fluid retention, drastically increased appetite (leading to weight gain), a charming "buffalo hump" at the base of the back of the neck, cramps, thinning skin, bruising, poor wound healing, and over time reduces bone density.
The chemotherapy drug methotrexate, can cause anaemia, hair loss, bruising, headaches, stomach problems, etc. And it makes the lupus sensitivity to sunlight even worse. (The basal cell carcinoma I had a couple of years ago, my GP blamed on methotrexate.)
We must take our medication - lupus is far worse than the side-effects of the drugs we take, and our doctors do weigh up the risks of each medication they prescribe. But we also have to be aware of the risks.
Each medication comes with a patient information leaflet, which lists things to be aware of, things to avoid (eg, alcohol, sunlight, grapefruit or antacids, etc) while taking the drug. It also lists symptoms which could indicate dangerous side-effects, which must be reported to your doctor immediately.
While it is a nuisance to keep all the pieces of paper, it is useful to re-read them from time to time. It's good to know the pieces of paper are now all on the internet as well. This link will take you to one of the sites that can provide you with the patient information leaflets for medications.