Methylprednisolone

Methylprednisolone treats a variety of conditions including allergic and inflammatory conditions and some cancers. It suppresses the body's immune system, and this reduces swelling and inflammation.

Methylprednisolone Overview

Reviewed: May 27, 2013
Updated: 

Methylprednisolone is a prescription medication used to treat many conditions including low corticosteroid levels (adrenal insufficiency), certain types of arthritis, allergic conditions, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and other diseases affecting the lungs, skin, eyes, kidneys, blood, thyroid, stomach, and intestines.

Methylprednisolone belongs to a group of drugs called corticosteroids, which replace corticosteroids which the body normally make, or to reduce inflammation that could cause damage to the body.

This medication comes in tablet form and may be taken with or without food.

This medication also comes in an injectable form to be given by a healthcare professional.

Common side effects of methylprednisolone include upset stomach, dizziness, and difficulty falling asleep.  Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how methylprednisolone will affect you.

 

 

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Methylprednisolone Cautionary Labels

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Uses of Methylprednisolone

Methylprednisolone is a prescription medication used to treat:

  • low corticosteroid levels. Corticosteroids are steroids naturally produced by the body that are required for normal body function.
  • arthritis
  • allergic reactions
  • asthma
  • multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which nerves do not function properly due to inflammation.
  • lupus. Lupus is a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks itself.
  • severe psoriasis. Psoriasis is a disease in which the skin becomes red, irritated, and flaky.
  • certain conditions affecting the lungs, skin, eyes, kidneys, blood, thyroid, stomach, and intestines. Methylprednisolone frequently treats diseases of these organs by reducing inflammation.
  • some types of cancer such as leukemia (cancer in bone marrow) and lymphoma (cancer of white blood cells)

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Methylprednisolone Brand Names

Methylprednisolone may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Methylprednisolone Drug Class

Methylprednisolone is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Methylprednisolone

Serious side effects have been reported. See “Methylprednisolone Precautions” section.

Common side effects of include:

  • dizziness
  • hypertension
  • slow healing
  • retention of fluid resulting in swelling
  • acne
  • electrolyte imbalances
  • decreased immune system function
  • decreased bone density
  • depression
  • inappropriate happiness
  • nausea
  • joint and muscle pain
  • blurred vision
  • headache
  • abnormal distribution of body fat

This is not a complete list of side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Methylprednisolone Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral, Restasis, Gengraf)
  • phenobarbital (Donnatal)
  • phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane)
  • ketoconazole (Nizoral)
  • aspirin (Ecotrin)

This is not a complete list of methylprednisolone drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Methylprednisolone Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with methylprednisolone including:

  • Hypersensitivity reaction: Methylprednisolone may trigger an allergic response. Symptoms of a hypersensitivity reaction include:
    • hives
    • difficulty breathing or swallowing
    • swelling
    • rash
    • itching
  • Cardiac and renal problems: Methylprednisolone can increase blood pressure, cause water and sodium retention, and increase potassium and calcium excretion. Tell your doctor if you have a history of heart or kidney disease.
  • Immunosuppression: Methylprednisolone decreases your body’s immune response to infections. In addition, methylprednisolone can increase sensitivity to vaccines since the immune response is reduced with methylprednisolone use.
  • Reactivation of tuberculosis: Tell your doctor if you have had tuberculosis.
  • Perforation of the gastrointestinal tract: Methylprednisolone can cause holes in the stomach or intestinal lining.  Tell your doctor if you have a history of ulcers or other digestive system problems.
  • Decreased bone formation: Methylprednisolone can prevent the formation of bones, which may result in decreased bone density and osteoporosis.
  • Eye damage: Long-term use may lead to cataracts, glaucoma, damage to the optic (eye) nerves, and may worsen an eye infection.
  • Electrolyte changes: Corticosteroids can cause a rise sodium and a decrease of potassium. Corticosteroids also cause a loss in calcium.
  • Extreme mood changes: Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have some or all of the following symptoms...
    • euphoria (intense feeling of happiness or joy)
    • insomnia
    • mood swings
    • personality changes
    • severe depression
  • Stunted growth in children: Growth should be monitored with long-term use of methylprednisolone.
  • Kaposi's sarcoma: This type of cancer has been reported to occur in patients receiving corticosteroid therapy. Stopping its use may result in clinical remission.
  • Steroid withdrawal: To avoid withdrawal side effects, do not stop taking methylprednisolone suddenly. Discuss with your doctor about slowly decreasing the dose before stopping use of this medication altogether.

Methylprednisolone can cause dizziness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how methylprednisolone affects you.

Do not take methylprednisolone if you:

  • have an active fungal infection
  • are allergic to methylprednisolone, aspirin, or any ingredient within this medication product

Methylprednisolone Food Interactions

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of methylprednisolone, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving methylprednisolone.

Inform MD

Before taking methylprednisolone, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to methylprednisolone, aspirin (Ecotrin), or any ingredient within this medication product
  • have a history of liver, kidney, intestinal, or heart disease
  • have diabetes, an underactive thyroid gland, high blood pressure, or mental illness
  • have myasthenia gravis (disease of weak muscles), osteoporosis, seizures, or ulcers
  • have or have had tuberculosis or any other type of ongoing infection
  • have a history of ulcers (holes in the stomach)
  • have a history of alcohol use or abuse
  • have are or about to receive a vaccine, especially a live one such as the nasal influenza, MMR, or varicella vaccines
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Methylprednisolone and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Methylprednisolone falls into category C. This medication may be given to a pregnant woman if her healthcare provider believes that its benefits to the pregnant woman outweigh any possible risks to her unborn baby.

It is not known if methylprednisolone will harm your unborn baby.

Methylprednisolone and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

You should not take methylprednisolone if you are breastfeeding. It may be excreted in your breast milk and may harm your nursing child.

Methylprednisolone Usage

Take methylprednisolone exactly as prescribed.

Methylprednisolone comes as a tablet or liquid to be given directly by a healthcare professional.

Methylprednisolone tablet can be taken with or without food. It is recommended to take with food to prevent stomach irritation.

To avoid steroid withdrawal side effects, do not stop taking methylprednisolone suddenly. Discuss with your doctor about slowly decreasing the dose before stopping use of this medication altogether.

If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of methylprednisolone at the same time.

Methylprednisolone Dosage

Take methylprednisolone exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

Your doctor will determine the appropriate dosage and schedule of prednisone depending the disease being treated and your response to the medication. The starting dosage of methylprednisolone may vary from 4 mg to 48 mg a day depending on reason for use.

Methylprednisolone Overdose

If you take too much methylprednisolone , call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

Other Requirements

  • Store methylprednisolone at room temperature.
  • Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.