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- What is methylprednisolone, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for methylprednisolone?
- Is methylprednisolone available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for methylprednisolone?
- What are the uses for methylprednisolone?
- What are the side effects of methylprednisolone?
- What is the dosage for methylprednisolone?
- Is methylprednisolone safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about methylprednisolone?
What is methylprednisolone, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Methylprednisolone family of products include methylprednisolone, methylprednisolone acetate (Medrol, Depo-medrol), and methylprednisolone sodium acetate (Solu-medrol). They will be called methylprednisolone in this monograph. They are synthetic (man-made) corticosteroids. 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. The FDA approved methylprednisolone in October 1957.
What brand names are available for methylprednisolone?
Medrol, Depo-Medrol, Solu-Medrol, A-Methapred
What are the uses for methylprednisolone?
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:
Chronic skin conditions treated with methylprednisolone include:
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:
Quick GuideRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment
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.
Is methylprednisolone safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
: Methylprednisolone has not been adequately evaluated in pregnant women.
Methylprednisolone has not been adequately evaluated in nursing mothers.
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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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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Cortisone InjectionCortisone injections are used to treat small areas of inflammation or widespread inflammation throughout the body. There is minimal pain from these injections, and relief from the pain of inflammation occurs rapidly.
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Take the RA QuizHow is rheumatoid arthritis different from other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and gout? Take the Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Quiz to rest your RA IQ.
Steroids to Treat ArthritisSteroids decrease inflammation and may be used to treat many inflammatory conditions and diseases, such as systemic vasculitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Sjögren's syndrome. Steroids are injected, rather than administered orally, to deliver a high dose of medication to a specific area. Side effects of steroid injections include infection, tendon rupture, skin discoloration, allergic reaction, and weakening of bone, ligaments, and tendons.