Generic name: methylprednisolone (oral) (METH il pred NIS oh lone)
Brand name: Medrol, Medrol Dosepak, MethylPREDNISolone Dose Pack
Drug class: Glucocorticoids
Methylprednisolone is a corticosteroid medicine that prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation.
Methylprednisolone is used to treat many different inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, allergic disorders, gland (endocrine) disorders, and conditions that affect the skin, eyes, lungs, stomach, nervous system, or blood cells.
Methylprednisolone may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use this medicine if you have a fungal infection anywhere in your body.
Before taking methylprednisolone, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions, and about all other medicines you are using. There are many other diseases that can be affected by steroid use, and many other medicines that can interact with steroids.
Steroid medication can weaken your immune system, making it easier for you to get an infection or worsening an infection you already have or have recently had. Tell your doctor about any illness or infection you have had within the past several weeks.
Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Call your doctor for preventive treatment if you are exposed to chicken pox or measles. Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using this medicine. The vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease.
Do not stop using methylprednisolone suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor about how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when stopping the medication. Any doctor, dentist, or emergency medical professional who treats you should know that you take steroid medication.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use methylprednisolone if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- a fungal infection anywhere in your body.
Methylprednisolone can weaken your immune system, making it easier for you to get an infection. Steroids can also worsen an infection you already have, or reactivate an infection you recently had. Tell your doctor about any illness or infection you have had within the past several weeks.
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- a thyroid disorder;
- herpes infection of the eyes;
- stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, or diverticulitis;
- depression, mental illness, or psychosis;
- liver disease (especially cirrhosis);
- high blood pressure;
- a muscle disorder such as myasthenia gravis; or
- multiple sclerosis.
Also tell your doctor if you have diabetes. Steroid medicines may increase the glucose (sugar) levels in your blood or urine. You may also need to adjust the dose of your diabetes medications.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
It is not known whether methylprednisolone passes into breast milk or if it could affect the nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.
How should I take methylprednisolone?
Take methylprednisolone exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Methylprednisolone is sometimes taken every other day. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.
Your dose needs may change if you have unusual stress such as a serious illness, fever or infection, or if you have surgery or a medical emergency. Tell your doctor about any such situation that affects you.
This medicine can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using methylprednisolone.
You should not stop using this medicine suddenly. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose.
Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you take methylprednisolone. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you take steroid medication.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
An overdose of methylprednisolone is not expected to produce life threatening symptoms. However, long term use of high steroid doses can lead to symptoms such as thinning skin, easy bruising, changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your face, neck, back, and waist), increased acne or facial hair, menstrual problems, impotence, or loss of interest in sex.
What to avoid
Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Call your doctor for preventive treatment if you are exposed to chicken pox or measles. These conditions can be serious or even fatal in people who are using steroid medication.
Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using methylprednisolone. The vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), polio, rotavirus, oral typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.
Methylprednisolone side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to methylprednisolone: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling, rapid weight gain;
- bruising, thinning skin, or any wound that will not heal;
- blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain, or seeing halos around lights;
- severe depression, changes in personality, unusual thoughts or behavior;
- new or unusual pain in an arm or leg or in your back;
- bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
- seizure (convulsions); or
- low potassium - leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, increased thirst or urination, numbness or tingling.
Steroids can affect growth in children. Tell your doctor if your child is not growing at a normal rate while using this medicine.
Common methylprednisolone side effects may include:
- fluid retention (swelling in your hands or ankles);
- dizziness, spinning sensation;
- changes in your menstrual periods;
- mild muscle pain or weakness; or
- stomach discomfort, bloating.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect methylprednisolone?
Other drugs may interact with methylprednisolone, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.