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Prednisone Doesn't Work Anymore

Updated on June 20, 2012

The Next Thing

So if you've been following, you know that at the age of 14 I began to suffer from Lupus Nephritis. This went on from the age of 14 to 16 off and on. Every time I had a flare of Nephritis I was put on high dosages of Prednisone, but after a while the Prednisone seemd to not help with the Nephritis. So my doctors (at this point I had a team of specialist) decided to be a bit more aggressive with my treatment. The fear was that because my kidney kept being attacked I would end up with Renal (kidney) failure and so we all agreed that being more aggressive was the answer. Being more aggressive would mean me starting a treatment generally used in the treatment of Hodgkin's Lymphoma; "Cytoxan".

Can You Say Cyclophosphamide?

Can you say Cyclophosphamide? Approved by the FDA in 1959 Cyclophosphamide is the generic name for Cytoxan which is, as I told you, a medication generally used in the treatment of Hodkin's Disease (Lymphoma) and a series of other Cancers such as Ovarian Cancer, Neuroblastoma, Lymphocytic Leukemia and many more. Outside of certain Cancers, Cyclophosphamide is used in the case of certain Autoimmune Disease like severe cases of Rheumatoid Arthritis and SLE.

The medication is usually administered intravenously over 2-5 days and is given in combination with other drugs; in my case Prednisone. Cytoxan belongs to a class of drugs referred to as alkylating agents as it works by way of targeting white blood cell. In Cancer it interupts the production of the quickly multiplying cells, and in Autoimmune Disease it targets the overactive immune system (immunosuppressant).

Because it is a type of "chemotherapy" or "cytotoxic,"medication, the drug doesn't only affect diseased cells but healthy cells as well causing a series of side effects:

  • Nausea and or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Hair loss (I had to cut all my hair off)
  • Sores in the mouth and on the tongue
  • Changes in skin color

Some more Severe effects are:

  • Fever and or chills
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising (black and blues)
  • Black stools (means there's blood in the stool)
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing and or swallowing.
  • Unusual coughing
  • Swelling in the legs or ankles.
  • Chest pain
  • Yellowing of the eyes and or skin

If these side effects occur, please contact your doctor ASAP!!!!

I received a series of 14 doses where I had to go into the hospital and stay a day or two while I received the medication and was closely monitored. Unfortunately, while it worked in the short term I still lost my kidneys at the age of 22 and received my first transplant in October of 2002. My mother gave me a kidney, so one can say that she gave me life twice. It lasted only 5 years but it was a well spent 5 years; no one really knows about how long a transplant could last. I'm back on the transplant list awaiting a kidney. This is why organ and blood donation is so important to me. Without these two things I wouldn't be here today to share my story, so I encourage you to donate blood when you can and if you know someone that needs an organ see if you can help.


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    • teamrn profile image

      teamrn 5 years ago from Chicago

      It sure inspired me, lupus. Stop over at my lupus blog, http://lupuschronnicles.com

    • Lupusmyjourney profile image
      Author

      Lupusmyjourney 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Hello Teamrn,

      Just to clarify I only had 14 sessions of cytoxan and I'm no longer on that drug (its been over 10 years). I'm happy that I was able to inspire you as this was and is my intention for my blog; educate and motivate.

      Thanks for sharing your story with me as well.

      God bless,

      Vanessa

    • teamrn profile image

      teamrn 5 years ago from Chicago

      What a time you've had with nephritis. I thought that my lupus was just minor inconvenience and I would live with it. But like you, that minor inconvenience didn't stay 'minor' that long. I've been battling osteonecrosis and now was just diagnosed with Shrinking Lung Syndrome, which, while it explains my shortness of breath, is progressive and unless this CellCept works....

      Enough about me. I hope you find a donor. To live on Cytoxan mustn't be pleasant. Please take care and what struck me was your + attitude, and that you celebrated those 5 years with your mother's kidney.

      Best, Annie