Shall I take more steroids?

Recently diagnosed by a private neurologist who prescribed 5 day course of strong steroids. Finished them less than four weeks ago. Met my NHS neurologist last week and told him about symptoms, some changing (I.e. more stiffness, more pain and new numb feet) and he has prescribed another five day course of the same steroids (he does know that I had some already) . Seems a lot to take, especially since the first lot did not ease symptoms? (I asked the GP for pain killers today, but he just said to take the steroids instead?)

bit confused, if anyone has advice?

thanks patience

Hi Patience

Do you mean the first steroids were 5 x 100mg tablets for 5 days (i.e. 500mg per day)?

And that this is the same dosage that your NHS neurologist has prescribed?

The general advice is not to take high dose steroids more than three times maximum in one year (I prefer the old advice which was no more than twice a year). There’s no hard and fast rule about taking two doses close to each other I don’t think (but if anyone knows better then please correct me).

However, if the first lot didn’t work on this relapse, then I wouldn’t have thought more would do much good. In my experience, the earlier you take steroids into a relapse the more likely they are to work. When I say ‘more likely’, you have to remember that a) they aim to shorten a relapse not cure it, and b) each time you take steroids they can have a different effect. So you could take them for one relapse and they’re like a miracle, and then the next time they do bugger all.

You also need to think about the side effects, if you experienced the sleeplessness and agitation that is common through the course, followed by a bit of depression and muscle aching afterwards, you need to think about whether you want to experience that again so soon after the first lot.

In your shoes, I’d be tempted not to take them. But to reserve the potential for more steroids later this year. Obviously, that is my personal view, not in any way to be taken as gospel. Don’t forget that the doctors can prescribe what they want, it’s up to you what you decide to take. And when you’re fairly new to MS, you tend to believe the doctors know best and consider what they’ve advised as being what you have to do.

Have a look at

Hoping this relapse remits soon.


Dear Sue, thank you for your reply. Yes the first lot were 500mg per day as you described.

And yes, I too thought that I had read, no more than three times per year.

It is difficult to ignore doctors and there is such a lot to learn, but I think that this time I will give my body a chance to rest.

thank you again. Patience x