Frequently Asked Questions
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What is a steroid taper?
The definition of a taper is to reduce gradually. People with Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) and Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA) are typically prescribed corticosteroids for a period of time to make these conditions manageable. The aim thereafter is to reduce the dose of steroids to as low a level as possible and there are a number of medically-validated taper plans for Health Professionals to choose from.
How do I know which steroid taper plan to choose?
Medical advice regarding tapering should always be sought so you must discuss the options with your Doctor or Rheumatologist.
What is the steroid taper web application?
The steroid taper web application is a resource that stores copies of published steroid taper plan documents and enables users to create a personalised steroid taper schedule using the patterns described in those taper plans. It also enables users to create their own taper plan. Personalised steroid taper schedules are displayed on a monthly calendar with the dose to be taken displayed beneath each day.
Do I need to register to use the steroid taper application?
You do not need to register if you just want to view or download the taper plans. However, if you wish to create your own personalised schedule then you will need to register.
How do I register to use the steroid taper application?
There is a link to register at the top of the page. On smaller devices the menu may have collapsed into three horizontal lines so you will need to click on them to reveal the menu. Registering requires the user to choose a user name and password and provide an email address.
Why is an email address required?
Your email address is required when registering in case you forget your password and need it re-setting. Your email address will be used for no other purposes and most definitely WILL NOT be shared with anyone else.
How do I create a personalised schedule?
Once logged on, you will see the My Schedule page (or select the page from the menu).
Click the "Create/Update Schedule" button.
At Step 1, you are asked to select a condition. 'All Conditions' will list all taper plans for both PMR and GCA. 'Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)' will show the taper plans for PMR. 'Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA)' will show the taper plans for GCA. Where a taper is suitable for either condition or for anyone wishing to define their own taper then these are included no matter which filter is selected.
You are then asked to select a taper type.
A fixed taper is where the start dose, the end dose and the taper have been defined. An example is the taper included in the BSR and BHPR Guidelines . Having chosen this type of taper you will be asked to enter a start date and select a stage that your schedule will start on. You would typically select Stage 1 to start at the beginning but being able to choose a stage is useful in case you have to revisit one of the other stages later on.
A variable taper is where the start dose, the end dose and the taper are defined by the user. An example is the 'Dead Slow Nearly Stop' taper devised by members of the NE of England PMRGCAUK Charity. Having chosen this type of taper you will be asked to enter a start date, your current dose, the target dose and the taper (all in milligrams).
The third taper is a user-defined taper where you provide a start date, an end date and the daily dose in milligrams (mg).
"Select this Taper Plan" will take you to Step 2 where you will enter the required information depending on the taper plan you chose. Once this step is completed you will see the monthly calendar with the dose to be taken each day displayed.
Why are there different versions of the same taper plan?
Some plans describe a flexible regime with differing gradients of taper. For example, the BSR and BHPR Guidelines for PMR describe a taper that lasts anywhere from between 46 and 84 weeks. The different taper patterns are differentiated by the version number.
How do I print a copy of my monthly calendar?
Click on the Print Schedule link. You can then choose which monthly calendar you wish to print.
How do I download my personalised steroid taper schedule data?
Click on the List View link. A table shows your dose for each day. This can be exported to excel by clicking on the "Export to Excel" button.
I have changed my email address. How do I amend this?
Click on your name in the top menu bar to be taken to the Manage Account page.
Can I change my password?
Yes, Click on your name in the top menu bar to be taken to the Manage Account page.
What should I do if I forget my password?
There is a Forgot Password link on the log-on screen. Please note that you are only able to use this function if you have already provided an email address. If your email address matches your user name then an email will be generated with instructions on how to change your password.
How do I edit my steroid taper schedule?
If you just want to change the dose for a particular day then you can select the day by clicking on the calendar.
Updating your schedule is very similar to creating a schedule except that if a schedule already exists for the dates you select then you will be asked whether they should be deleted before a new schedule is produced. Click on the 'Create/Update Schedule' button and follow the instructions.
What should I do if I have any problems with the application?
Please use the contact form and provide as much information as you can about the problem you have experienced.
Can this application be downloaded to my tablet or phone?
The steroid taper application is a web application that can be run on any device with a web browser and you do not need to download it to your phone or tablet. If you would like to add a short-cut onto your tablet or phone then how you do this will very much depend upon which operating system and browser you use. Here are some instructions for some tablets and phones.
On an iPhone
1. Open the Safari browser.
2. Navigate to www.steroidtaper.com
3. When the application has loaded, press the Action Key located at the bottom of the screen. This button looks like a square box with an arrow pointing upwards in the middle of it.
4. Press the "Add to Home Screen" button. This button looks like a square box with a plus sign in the middle of it.
5. The steroid taper icon will now appear on your phone. Clicking on this icon will take you to the application.
On an iPad
Exactly the same as for an iPhone but the Action Key is located at the top of the screen.
This is a link to a web page that describes how to add websites to the home screen on any smartphone or tablet.
What devices can I use to access the steroid taper application?
The steroid taper application is run through a web browser so any device with a web browser can be used to access the application. This will include smart TV's, smart phones, tablets, laptops, and computers.