Should I take these steroids? :-/

Hi guys,

hope you are all well. I haven’t been on this forum in quite some time now, but thought I could pop on for a bit of advice. I remember I used to post a lot of questions when I was first diagnosed two years ago & you lot were amazing!

anyway, I’m currently living down under in New Zealand at the mo on a working holiday visa! Been experiencing some really bad symptoms- the onset of them was about a week ago, but they’ve gradually got worse. Now my mobility is shot- not completely immobile but I’ve got real bad foot drop on rhs, lack of coordination, unsteady in my feet, dead right arm pins and needles the usual loveliness! Not many sensory symptoms, which I could actually deal with! But the fact that I’m so nervous and unbalanced on my feet is preventing me for going about my day to day life as normal. I got a dose of steroids from my GP from the UK- dexamethasone 2MG tablets. Should I start taking them? I don’t really have much support over here, no gp, ms nurse or anything like that! Plus, doctors visits cost a bomb!

the 2mg dexamethasone tabs are prescribed on the bottle to take 2x tabs 3 times per day then reducing by one tab daily. Am I correct is taking these for 6 days? Sorry seems a silly q but I can’t really ring anyone for advice. Only ever taken oral steroids once way back in 2013 so I can’t really remember. :slight_smile:

Ash x

Hi Ash i’ve not taken that steroid before, I took prednone.

I don’t know if the following MSNZ helpline can help advise you who could help?

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of New Zealand provides support, information and advocacy to multiple sclerosis sufferers, as well as their family and friends.

Multiple Sclerosis Society of New Zealand (Inc)
Freephone: 0800 MS LINE / 0800 675 463

Most major towns in New Zealand have an office of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Please refer to the white pages of the local telephone book or search online for contact details.


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in the UK we are generally prescribed 500 - 1000mg of methyl prednisolone (the brand name for the oral drug is Medrol) taken over about 5-7 days. so you may find that none of us can advise you on the specific steroid you’ve been prescribed. The links Lenney has given you should help though. It does sound like you need something to help with the relapse asap though.


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I am sorry that you are on sick parade so far from home. That must be frightening and horrible, not to mention the emotional impact of MS making you an offer you can’t refuse just when you are busy getting on with your life.

Nothing to offer on the meds front, I’m afraid, except that I think you really ought to see a doctor. Can your finances stretch to that or is there family or friends who could bail you out? I’m assuming you don’t have travel insurance health cover.

Anyway, good luck and get well soon.


The BNF give the normal daily dose as between 0.05mg and 10mg.

Your 2x 2mg, thrice daily equals 6mg, so it’s not near the top limit. So, taking them is your call.

If you do decide to take a course of them, and it does not work, taper off to nothing over a week - and phone the NZ Society and ask for help.


I take Dex for relapses, my neuro gave me a course when I was first diagnosed and I’ve used them ever since (I am in the UK).

I take 8 x 2mg for 2 days, 6 x 2mg for 2 days, 4 x 2mg for 2 days, 2 x 2mg for 2 days then stop. And it’s useful to take them all in one go, after breakfast, as they contain the stuff that wakes you up so you don’t want to be taking any late in the day. Insomnia is a side effect but if you know lack of sleep is coming, just go with the flow and find something else to do in the small hours. It’s not forever and I wouldn’t want to take anything else to help me sleep, these steroids are enough for my system to cope with.

You will also have a ferocious appetite so fill the fridge with healthy food that you can graze on, nothing stodgy as you’ll feel bloated and uncomfortable.

They are powerful drugs and after a week of them you’ll be wondering if it was all worth it. But it is, stick with it, and know that they stay in your system working away for about three months. And look forward to that first blissful undisturbed night’s sleep a few days after you’ve finished them.

Good luck and I hope they work for you.

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Hi guys,

thanks so so much for all your advice. I’ve got in touch with a MS nurse over here & been to see a GP. I have quite a bad UTI at the moment , so hopefully that is just flaring up some of my symptoms. They’ve gave me some antibiotics for that & also advised me to keep on the steroids aswell, so fingers crossed they all do their job!

as regards to travel insurance, I did have some to cover pre existing condition but my policy has expired last month & now I can’t renew it as I’m outside of the UK which seems to be standard with all insurance companies. So, I have another question if anyone can help. Is anyone aware of an companies who will insure you with MS if you’ve already left the UK and are currently travelling?

thanks in advice, take care

Ash x

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Not based on personal experience, but I shouldn’t think you will be able to get insurance now, for the simple reason the thing you’re trying to insure against has already happened (i) you’re already abroad, and (ii) your MS has already worsened.

I believe that even if anyone would still cover you once you were travelling, it would be conditional on there having been no recent exacerbations of your condition.

As you’ve had a flare-up requiring both steroids and antibiotics, you wouldn’t be able to report honestly that there has been no recent cause for concern, so I think everyone will either turn you down flat, or quote such an exorbitant premium it’s out of your price bracket anyway.

It’s certainly not worth considering applying and keeping quiet (not that I’m suggesting you would), as now you’ve seen a doctor and got prescriptions, there is formal evidence (albeit not in the UK) that your MS hasn’t been dormant lately, and if you had to claim, this is would be looked into, and almost certainly discovered.

Generally, it’s already too late to insure against anything, if there have been warning signs of any description. They’d want to know your MS had been stable for ages, and not that you’d recently needed treatment for it.

Sorry, but I think you’re hoping for something that probably doesn’t exist.


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Sorry, but I’m afraid that ship has almost certainly sailed. It is horrible luck that you fell ill when your insurance cover had just expired, but there it is - I don’t think there is any remedy. As you have already exceeded the stay you insured yourself for (and, I assume, had planned to stay for?) I expect you were returning home very soon anyway. Unless you are feeling very lucky - and the cards do not seem to have been falling your way recently - you would probably be wise to stick to that plan and expedite it if possible.