The untold truth of steroid tablets (not to be confused with Anabolic steroids)

In 2004, I was prescribed Prednisolone tablets (steroid tablets) by the G.P. for the treatment of eczema.  I took Prednisolone believing at the time that it would improve my condition and help me feel better and improve my health.

Although there was a slight improvement in my skin, I noticed that I began to have a loss of appetite, insomnia, late periods and my sight was affected.  The steroid tablets were so strong that I could feel a difference in taking them.

I remember when I had a doctor’s appointment and was at the reception area having a conversation with the receptionist, a doctor came in the reception area and overheard my conversation and shouted out, “ those tablets will kill you.” At first I was shocked to hear that and upset and it’s only when I look back that the doctor was trying to help me and was telling the truth.

In my experience first hand I realised that there is a vested interest in some of the medication prescribed for me, for starters the pharmaceutical companies had a lot to gain from this as I paid for my prescription.  If you become dependent on medication, you’ll continue to be prescribed more which puts more money in the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies. Another thing that I discovered on my own journey with Chronic Severe Eczema, was that some doctors don’t know a lot about this condition and how it affects black people differently so, in a sense I felt that I was used as a guinea pig.

With all medications there are side effects. If you experience side effects to the prescribed steroid tablets you may feel that you have to take additional medication based on your doctor’s recommendation in order to counteract that side effect. But that medication may cause you to have another side effect and then you may think you might have to take another medication which causes a domino effect. This leads to pharmaceutical companies benefiting at the expense of your exploitation. 

At the end of the day some doctors are sales representatives for Pharmaceutical companies, instead of handing business cards they hand you a prescription.

Whilst on staff training day, I met a lady who was giving training on visual impairment. She told us the problems which she had with her eyes and cataract operations she endured due to medication she had taken. I was curious and asked her what medication she had taken and she told me that she had taken Prednisolone.

I believe steroid tablets should only be taken with caution, as they have side effects and some are very severe which could be irreversible or fatal. 

It’s important that when someone is ill and goes to the doctor that the doctor listens to the patient rather than quickly writing out a prescription. The root cause of a problem cannot always be diagnosed in a 5 or 10 minute consultation. 

Despite having numerous appointments with the doctors and referrals to dermatologists it took years to finally find a dermatologist who could help and was genuine.

Prednisolone suppresses the immune system which means the risk of getting an infection is higher.  It affects your white blood cells where the main purpose of white blood cells are to fight disease and infection.

The other side effects of Prednisolone are: 

  • an increased risk of infections – especially chickenpox, shingles and measles
  • eye conditions, such as glaucoma and cataracts
  • Weakening of the bones (osteoporosis)
  • High blood sugar or diabetes
  • Cushing’s syndrome – which can cause symptoms such as thin skin the bruises easily, a build-up of fat on the neck and shoulders and a red, puff, rounded face
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Difficulty in sleeping

These are all symptoms I found on the NHS Website

In Summary

Despite the pain, suffering and discomfort I endured over the years with this condition I’m so grateful that the hope I had was because of my faith and my children.  This gave me the drive to fight for answers to get better and this started when a Dermatologist in South London (Kings College Hospital) diagnosed me.

Ultimately only you can make an informed decision as to whether you will take steroid tablets if this is given as an option. You should not feel pressured to take them.  

With hindsight I wish I never took steroid tablets and if I were to become ill again and would not choose that option.

Finding out more about my journey with chronic severe eczema.

Written and posted by Amanda Roberts, the Founder of Icylda Skincare on 23rd June 2020

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