Gupisone's active ingredient is Prednisolone, a corticosteroid. Unless directed by your doctor or under his assistance, it can be used as a long-term therapy. However, there are side effects for long-term treatment as well as for short-term.
For a short-term treatment, these may be the side effects:
1. water retention and fluid accumulation because of increased sodium levels
2. weight-gain associated with water retention
3. hyperglycemia and glucose intolerance
4. hypokalemia (decresed potassium level)
5. gastrointestinal discomfort (also includes nausea, vomiting,
6. mood changes
8. nervousness, restlessness
9. mania, depression
10. hallucinations and violent behavior.
11. loss of appetite
Long term effects include but not limited to:
1. Cushingoid appearance (moon face, buffalo hump on neck, thinning of the skin,
2. hirsutism or virilism (excessive hairiness on women in those parts of the body where terminal hair does not normally occur or is minimal)
4. irregular menstruation
5. progression to peptic ulcer disease
6. development of increased intraocular pressure and cataracts associated with increased glucose levels
7. development of glaucoma
8. osteoporosis, increased risk to fractures because of decreased calcium level
9. hypertension or heart failure due to long-term fluid retention and increased cholesterol level
10. increased susceptibility to infection
The strategy of your wife's doctor in treating her condition is to gradually decrease the dosage of the drug until the day that it will be stopped. Gupisone shouldn'y be stopped abruptly. Gradually reducing the dosage will prevent serious withdrawal effects such as hypotension, dehydration, fever, mental changes, muscle pain, joint pain and difficulty breathing.
About your question if 5mg/day is safe to take. Yes, it is a low dose . Low doses means limited side effects compared to those who take higher doses. Some patients with rheumatism are maintained on 1 tab of 5mg/day. Then, adjustments are done depending on the patient's response to the treatment. Talk to your doctor to know the course and length of therapy and the possible risks of taking the drug.