- Side Effects
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
- What Else to Know
Generic Name: methylprednisolone
Brand Names: Medrol, Depo-Medrol, Solu-Medrol, A-Methapred
Drug Class: Corticosteroids
What is methylprednisolone, and what is it used for?
Methylprednisolone is a synthetic (man-made) corticosteroid used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
Corticosteroids are naturally-occurring chemicals produced by the adrenal glands located adjacent to the kidneys. Corticosteroids affect metabolism in various ways and modify the immune system. Corticosteroids also block inflammation and are used in a wide variety of inflammatory diseases affecting many organs.
Methylprednisolone is used to achieve prompt suppression of inflammation. Examples of inflammatory conditions for which methylprednisolone is used include:
- rheumatoid arthritis,
- systemic lupus erythematosus,
- acute gouty arthritis,
- psoriatic arthritis,
- ulcerative colitis, and
- Crohn's disease.
Severe allergic conditions that fail conventional treatment also may respond to methylprednisolone. Examples include:
- bronchial asthma,
- allergic rhinitis,
- drug-induced dermatitis, and
- contact and atopic dermatitis.
Chronic skin conditions treated with methylprednisolone include:
- dermatitis herpetiformis,
- severe psoriasis and
- severe seborrheic dermatitis.
Chronic allergic and inflammatory conditions of the uvea, iris, conjunctiva and optic nerves of the eyes also are treated with methylprednisolone.
Methylprednisolone is used for treating shock and multiple sclerosis although their use in these conditions is controversial.
The FDA approved methylprednisolone in October 1957.
What are the side effects of methylprednisolone?
Adverse effects of methylprednisolone depend on dose, duration and frequency of administration. Short courses of methylprednisolone are usually well-tolerated with few, mild side effects. Long term, high doses of methylprednisolone may produce predictable and potentially serious side effects.
Whenever possible, the lowest effective doses of methylprednisolone should be used for the shortest length of time to minimize side effects. Alternate-day dosing also can help reduce side effects.
Side effects of methylprednisolone and other corticosteroids range from mild annoyances to serious irreversible bodily damage. Commonly reported side effects include:
- fluid retention,
- weight gain,
- high blood pressure,
- potassium loss,
- muscle weakness,
- puffiness of the face,
- hair growth on the face,
- thinning and easy bruising of the skin,
- peptic ulceration,
- worsening of diabetes,
- irregular menses,
- growth retardation in children,
- convulsions, and
- psychic disturbances.
Important psychic disturbances may include:
- mood swings,
- personality changes, and
- psychotic behavior.
What is the dosage for methylprednisolone?
- Dosage requirements of corticosteroids vary among individuals and the diseases being treated. In general, the lowest effective dose is used.
- The oral dose range is 2-60 mg daily depending on the disease.
- Depo-medrol doses are 10-80 mg injected into muscle every 1-2 weeks, and Solu-medrol doses are 10-250 mg intravenous or intramuscular injections up to 6 times daily.
- The initial dose should be adjusted based on response. Corticosteroids given in multiple doses throughout the day are more effective but also more toxic than the same total daily dose given once daily, or every other day.
- Oral methylprednisolone should be taken with food.
Which drugs interact with methylprednisolone?
Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.
- Severe interactions of methylprednisolone include:
- Methylprednisolone has serious interactions with at least 75 different drugs.
- Methylprednisolone has moderate interactions with at least 241 different drugs.
- Methylprednisolone has mild interactions with at least 128 different drugs.
The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.
It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider about all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions about the medication.
Is methylprednisolone safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
What else should I know about methylprednisolone?
What preparations of methylprednisolone are available?
- Tablets: 4, 8, 16, 24, and 32 mg. Injectable suspension: 20, 40, and 80 mg/ml. Powder for Injection: 40, 125, 500, 1000, and 2000 mg.
How should I keep methylprednisolone stored?
- Methylprednisolone preparations should be kept at room temperature, from 20 C to 25 C (68 F to 77 F).
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Methylprednisolone is a synthetic corticosteroid medication prescribed to patients to suppress inflammation from a variety of conditions and diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, acute gouty arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease. Side effects of methylprednisolone include fluid retention, weight gain, high blood pressure, potassium loss, headache, muscle weakness, puffiness of the face, hair growth on the face, thinning and easy bruising of the skin, glaucoma, cataracts, peptic ulceration, worsening of diabetes, and others.
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