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Methylprednisolone Side Effects. How Immediate?
Oct 6, 2015

Dear docs

Thanks for great site and a valuable resource to HIV+ folk like myself to find answers in a confidential forum. There is nothing else like it on the internet (that I can find, at least). I am a 60 year old man, HIV+ with a T count of 750. I am otherwise healthy. Recent blood work all within normal range.

I have a question about Methylprednisolone 6-day treatment and its side effects. Are its side effects more immediate and severe in HIV+ patients? I was prescribed a 6-day course for severe shoulder pain relief while the orthopedist tries to diagnose the problem. I am an otherwise healthy 60 year old man. T count of 750 and my recent physical exam and other blood work were all unremarkable. I was very pleased with the drugs quick impact on the pain. By Day-2 the pain had decreased by 30% and plateaued at 50% by Day-3. however by the 5th day, the pain began to return to its original intensity. A week later I was prescribed a second course of the same with the same results. My question is about the drugs fat redistribution side effect. I noticed my stomach was fatter by the end of the second regimen - - more protruding. Is this possible after only two weeks of the drug spaced a week apart? If so, is the physical change permanent? Are there other health issues I should be concerned about apart from the cosmetic?

Thank you

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for posting.

First, corticosteroid drugs like methylprednisolone can certainly cause side effects, but won't cause the kind of lipodystrophy associated with HIV. More likely is a Cushing type of fat change (fat accumulation, stretch marks), but this isn't likely with such short-term treatment that you've had. In any event, given the 2 weeks of your treatment, andy side effects associated with the steroids would be expected to be transient and resolve pretty quickly.

Hope that helps, BY

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