Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Prescribed steroids for DS's chesty cough - don't want to give them to him. Please give me some advice!

(56 Posts)
mylittlepuds Tue 26-Feb-13 09:53:12

I normally just glance over side effects on the info leaflet and think 'hey ho' needs must.

But my God the side effects of these steroids - Prednisolone - seem extreme and I'm very nervous about giving them to DS.

It's been well over two weeks though and he still has the wheezy 'loose' chest. No temp of anything though - absolutely his normal self.

Help!

kilmuir Tue 26-Feb-13 09:54:11

As you say needs must, poor child

They don't prescribe steroids just because, DD2 (2.5) is on a 3 day course after an mad air ambulance rush with what started as a wheezy chest and doc reluctant to prescribe steroids. A short course of less that 7 days often have few side effects apart from the steroid crazies that make little people hyper.

cyanarasamba Tue 26-Feb-13 09:57:12

I assume it's a five day course you've been given? Most of the side effects are not going to have chance to get going in that time. Even if he were to take the drug for longer, he would be unlikely to develop many of them. My daughter has been on prednisolone for over a year (we have no choice) and she's fine.

Saltire Tue 26-Feb-13 09:59:26

I have taken prednisolone before (slight difference I know, I'm an adult) and the longest I was on them was 7 days. I had no side effects at all, and my wheeze was gone within 3/4 days.

The other posters are right, they won't be in his system long enough for the side effects to take hold.

mylittlepuds Tue 26-Feb-13 10:01:33

Kilmuir - thanks for your very helpful response.

mylittlepuds Tue 26-Feb-13 10:03:56

Right shall give them ASAP. By 'I don't want to give them' - to clarify I mean I'm worried about giving them to him. Thanks for your responses.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mylittlepuds Tue 26-Feb-13 10:08:46

Thank you BTP. I'm really worried now that we haven't given them to him. He seems fine apart from cough but I'm really worried now with what's been said.

Wolfiefan Tue 26-Feb-13 10:10:36

I've just finished a short course for a similar reason. No side effects. They have to list absolutely everything that could possibly happen. My son was on these for AGES (kidney condition). A few short lived side effects but nothing awful. I'm afraid it's take the pills and get better (v small chance of side effects) or don't and probably end up in hospital.
I get the anxiety though. We ended up having to give DS a drug for kidney thing that they couldn't guarantee wouldn't put him at more risk of cancer in the future. <freaked face emoticon>

Saltire Tue 26-Feb-13 10:10:57

Sorry, OP. I am confused, have you given them to him and are worried about side effects, or have you not given them because you are worried about side effects.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mylittlepuds Tue 26-Feb-13 10:13:28

Not given them and now I'm really worried that I've done the wrong thing and not given them to him last Monday. He is absolutely fine in himself but just really worried about mentions of A&E trips etc as a result of wheezy chests getting worse. I'm really panicking now and feel so guilty about not just doing it.

mylittlepuds Tue 26-Feb-13 10:16:05

Oh god pregnancy hormones not helping. What was I thinking? I feel absolutely terrible.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChablisLover Tue 26-Feb-13 10:19:10

Prednisolone -this is the only thing that eased my DS asthma attacks that seen him end up in hospital with sats levels of 84%

Granted the side affects are scary but it is short term and they do work!

Though why GP didn't give you an inhaler first - but he/she must think your son is in a serious enough condition

I would give them to him

but I say that as a mum who has spent nights in hospital with her sick child and I couldnt care less about the side effects then

This is the last step of my DS asthma plan after his inhalers don't work and given the short term effectiveness of it I would more than happily give them

akaemmafrost Tue 26-Feb-13 10:19:57

I was on these recently and I have health anxiety so REALLY didn't want to take them. Within two days they had cleared up a massive asthma flare up that I had been ill with for months. I would prefer never to have to take them again but will if necessary as so very effective. As someone else said, they don't prescribe them lightly so they must judge it necessary. Saying that I wouldn't want to give them to my child either but I would.

ChablisLover Tue 26-Feb-13 10:20:39

P.s. dont mean to panic you but if it was me and I have had a sick child for two weeks I would go on docs advice

but if you are not happy -= go back to GP and ask for an inhaler instead or ask why these have been prescribed.

MortifiedAdams Tue 26-Feb-13 10:27:25

can I ask, OP, was it purely the length of time your DS had been coughing that made you go to the Doctors? DD is 14mo and has had a proper hacking cough for a week now, however seems totally fine in herself. This morning I thought I could hear a little wheeze on her chest but it's gone (or is too quiet for me to hear?)

Wondering if I should take her to the doctors.

Hope your LO is feeling better soon, and don't beat yourself up about it. Start the course today and see if he improves over the week.

Sirzy Tue 26-Feb-13 10:28:25

DS is 3 and has had more courses of pred than I can remember (at least 15 probably more) its not ideal but its much better than the risks of not having it!

mylittlepuds Tue 26-Feb-13 10:30:50

First dose administered. Feel like an absolute idiot. I really, really pray nothing happens as a result of his chest. Mortified - he frequently gets chesty coughs. I have the rigmarole of taking them to the docs and them saying it's 'not gone to his chest' even though it sounds wheezy to me.

Anyhow last Monday took him (he'd had it about a week) and the doc agreed he could hear it on his chest. First time we've been prescribed these, which is why I thought (well we as a couple thought) we would monitor it a few days and if it hadn't gone then sta the course.

Feeling rather idiotic now.

showtunesgirl Tue 26-Feb-13 10:32:44

I have been given these by the doc when my brown preventer inhaler and blue reliever didn't help. It's just a little booster to help the body get over what's wrong.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mylittlepuds Tue 26-Feb-13 10:38:29

They're soluble ones so mixed with juice and used a Calpol syringe. He keeps saying 'nice'. Bless him. I'm going to take him to the docs this afternoon andexplain what's happened. Thanks everyone. God why is parenting so hard?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sirzy Tue 26-Feb-13 10:43:43

I am impressed he is saying they are nice, even when mixed with juice DS hates them!

mylittlepuds Tue 26-Feb-13 10:46:33

I think I may have made the 'juice' very erm concentrated...thank you so much. I just feel totally idiotic. I hope the doctor understands. Trying to get him in now.

dikkertjedap Tue 26-Feb-13 11:33:03

Wheeziness is one of the characteristics of asthma. Normally inhalers will do the trick but oral steroids work much faster (inhaler has to build up, which can take several weeks, and some children find it really hard to use an inhaler even with a spacer).

The steroids reduce inflammation in the airways and will help him breathe much better. So it is really important to give them.

All medication has side effects, but that doesn't mean you get them. It is important to look out for them though and seek medical advice if necessary.

Especially people who have to take steroids over a long time period, in some cases years and years, are likely to suffer the more severe side effects, however, in spite of these it can still do them lots of good though.

mylittlepuds Tue 26-Feb-13 11:37:30

Thank you - that's really helpful dikkertjedap. I'm going to ask about asthma this afternoon.

libelulle Tue 26-Feb-13 11:39:43

They are alarming aren't they? Both my kids have had numerous courses of them and in DD's case I'm afraid they did send her a bit loopy - but only temporarily, and it was massively improved by lowering the dose slightly. We were also advised at that time to start montelukast, but didn't because of similar fears about side effects.

It was only when DS was admitted for a week with pneumonia that I realised just how serious chest infections can be. He is now on the montelukast and I'll give them the steroids as often as needs be. The risks of side effects are nothing compared to the risks of not taking these drugs. Uncontrolled asthma and wheeze are extremely harmful in themselves and can cause an alarming list of side effects not least growth restriction i the longer term and in the shorter term possible admission to intensive care! It's just that you don't get given a side effects leaflet so it seems the lesser of two evilssmile

Having said that, if the steroids do get to be a very regular thing, it is worth asking about the montelukast as it has been a miracle drug for DS - hasn't been on the steroids or even had a whiff of hospital admissions since he's been on them. Not all childhood asthma responds to it, but if it does it is magic!

justonemorethread Tue 26-Feb-13 11:42:50

OP Don't feel silly.
Your reaction to giving steroids is understandable.
I was given them for DD twice when she was about 3. She was constantly getting croup and chesty coughs.
On two occasions the doctor gave her steroids.

I trusted him as he always avoided medication unless strictly necessary.

He said they have a bad reputation mostly because of people who take them over a long period of time. A low dose over a short period of time being fine.

My DD felt so immediately better I was so thankful to have them. The second time she was really poorly she asked to go to the doctor to have the yucky medicine!

(She had a trial of Ventolin which a different doctor prescribed and it was like she'd been given an ecstasy tablet, her heart was racing so fast and she was so hyper! Obviously wasn't what she needed!)

She's 5.5 now and hasn't needed the since grown out of all the coughs and croup incidents and doesn't seem to have developed asthma (fingers crossed).

No effects from those to courses of steroids.

Hope your little one feels betters soon!

mylittlepuds Tue 26-Feb-13 12:00:47

Thank you. I'm so glad I started this thread as I have to be honest and say I had no idea that wheeziness could be so very serious. I really hope I haven't done him a disservice as I'd never forgive myself.

justonemorethread Tue 26-Feb-13 12:11:51

Of course you haven't! just add it to the list of things you feel guilty about. That way if you ever have a moment of peace you can just refer back to the list and start feeling like a proper mum again!

BeaWheesht Tue 26-Feb-13 12:15:06

Both my kids have had two course each - one for asthma and one for croup - they work pretty quickly ime.

mylittlepuds Tue 26-Feb-13 12:46:20

Thanks just and Bea smile

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 26-Feb-13 12:51:31

OP I'm sure you've not done any damage this time - but now you have info for the future. smile

The only thing I will say, is that if a Dr prescribes you something it will be for a reason. If once you are home, you are unsure about the medication, or worried about taking it, or feel that your condition - or your child's - changes, then please ring them to talk it through.

Kiriwawa Tue 26-Feb-13 12:56:37

I don't think you should feel bad but I think it's worth discussing any possible side effects with the GP when you're being prescribed something (and obviously that means asking when you're actually in the surgery rather than waiting until you read the leaflet).

FWIW the only person I know who's had side effects on Prednisolone was on them for a year.

Jojay Tue 26-Feb-13 12:59:56

Don't feel bad - the leaflets that come woth so mny drugs are terrifying.

My kids are far too medicated for my liking - numerous courses of pred., strong steroids for eczema, daily steroid inhalers, ventolin, montelukast etc etc.

It's horrible, but being them in hospital with asthma attacks, wired up to drips and gawd knows what else, is far worse. I would cheerfully feed them arsenic in that situation if someone told me it would make them better.

We are extremely lucky to have access to the healthcare we do, and the quality of life that we all enjoy is often down to that. I totally understand your concerns, but you did the right thing giving it to him smile

ubik Tue 26-Feb-13 13:00:33

I'm so glad you gave them to him smile

If it makes you feel any better:

DD1 also gets asthma symptoms with chest infections and the first time i left her for a couple of days thinking it was just a virus and she didn't need to see doc etc

MIL (ex nurse) looked at her and told me to get her to GP that day. While we were walking to doc, DD1 told me she didn't want to chat as she couldn't walk and talk at the same time due to chest shock Saw GP who did a peak flow and then got her on a nebuliser.

We came home with steroids, inhalers, spacers and a much chattier DD1.

butterfingerz Tue 26-Feb-13 16:32:48

Hi op, my ds who is 21 months has had quite a few courses of prednisolone for wheezy episodes. I know systemic steroids have quite alot of side effects, but remember some people have to take them on a permanent basis so the effects are more applicable to them. For a short course of a few days, you really needn't worry. My dp is a pharmacist so he's looked into the risks quite extensively and has reassured me many times!

SarahGarden80 Tue 26-Feb-13 21:16:32

My son (7yo) has chesty non stop coughs whole winter. We have inhalers as well, and there are not steroids, but corticoids. It keeps us going whole winter, I do not like to give it to him as well, but I cover usually december-jan-february, then he is fine all year long, starting in late december again. Try to do it that way, it will really keep you going without awake nights and terrible days.

mylittlepuds Tue 26-Feb-13 22:38:25

Update! Had DS to doctors. She was lovely and reassured me after rambling and crying for being a foolish idiot and putting DS at risk.

His chest thank God was clear - and quite remarkably she said it could have been the steroids (one dose) already taking effect?

Anyway we're second dose in now so feel calmer. I asked her about dangers of wheeziness and she said to keep an eye on if he starts to struggle - and straight to A&E. Hopefully, hopefully, he'll be fine.

A hard lesson learned I think.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Tue 26-Feb-13 22:45:55

DD was prescribed them last week (for the ninety millionth time) and the consultant who gave them to her said they can work in about 6 hours.

mylittlepuds Tue 26-Feb-13 22:50:20

Goodness me! That's strong stuff! Was it for her chest?

Sirzy Tue 26-Feb-13 22:59:27

One steroid DS has works in the hour, pred kicks in within a couple of hours with him.

mylittlepuds Tue 26-Feb-13 23:12:20

Thank you. I have really appreciated your responses. I was so, so worried.

Jojay Wed 27-Feb-13 12:46:20

Pred works in an hour or two for my lot too.

So glad he's on the mend smile

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Wed 27-Feb-13 13:41:48

Yes, DD has been asthmatic since the year dot, she's now 22 and regularly needs pred to control her symptoms. How is he today?

mylittlepuds Wed 27-Feb-13 15:16:32

Hi ladies. I think he's probably the same but I feel calmer knowing that we're doing the best thing to get him better. He's totally fine in himself, just a slight wheezing. Bless him. Thanks for all your lovely messages smile

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lifeisontheup Wed 27-Feb-13 19:32:45

My two DS's had lots of short sharp bursts of steroids(prednislone) for viral induced wheeze as youngsters. They are now 6ft + teenagers and haven't been to the doctors in years. They are disgustingly healthy!

mylittlepuds Thu 28-Feb-13 14:36:34

Goodness me! Wheeze gone! Bloody hell!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mylittlepuds Thu 28-Feb-13 17:56:42

I was tempted to stop it BTP. But shall plug on smile

ChablisLover Thu 28-Feb-13 17:59:44

Glad to hear your son is on the mend op

SunflowersSmile Thu 28-Feb-13 19:29:13

Both my sons had steroids for different reasons- short courses.
No obvious side affects apart from problems cured.
With my frighteningly wheezy one the immediate relief countered the fear of side affects.

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