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How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Methylprednisolone belongs to a group of medications called corticosteroids.Corticosteroids are hormones that are produced naturally in our body, and necessary for many important bodily functions.
Methylprednisolone is a synthetic (man-made) corticosteroid medication that has been developed to imitate the actions of naturally occurring corticosteroid hormones in the body. A particularly important action of methlyprednisolone is to relieve inflammation that causes symptoms such as swelling, itching, and redness.
Symptoms of inflammation are often seen with allergic reactions such as severe allergic skin reactions, reactions to insect bites, and anaphylaxis (a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction). Other conditions and symptoms associated with inflammation can also be treated with corticosteroids. These include painful swollen joints caused by arthritis, and relief of asthma symptoms caused by inflamed breathing passages.
Methylprednisolone may also be used by people who are not able to produce enough of their own corticosteroid naturally (e.g., Addison’s disease). Additional conditions that may be treated with methylprednisolone include severe skin conditions (e.g., psoriasis), certain eye conditions, ulcerative colitis, certain blood disorders, leukemia, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are being given this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each white, elliptical, cross-scored tablet, engraved "Medrol 4", contains methylprednisolone 4 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: calcium stearate, cornstarch, lactose, mineral oil, and sucrose. Gluten-free.
Each white, elliptical, cross-scored tablet, engraved "Medrol 16", contains methylprednisolone 16 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: calcium stearate, cornstarch, lactose, mineral oil, and sucrose. Gluten-free.
How should I use this medication?
The recommended dose of methylprednisolone varies widely depending on the condition being treated, response to the medication, the form of the medication being used, the age and size of the person using the medication, and individual circumstances.
The dose of the tablet form may range from 4 mg to 48 mg of methylprednisolone daily, or even much higher depending on the specific condition being treated.
Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
Injectable medications are given either into a muscle, into a joint, or into a vein by a qualified health professional.
Taking this medication with food will help to prevent stomach upset.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose of the medication and are taking the medication once a day, but don’t remember until the next day, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. If you are taking the medication more than once daily, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from freezing, and keep it out of the reach of children.
If you miss an appointment to receive methylprednisolone, contact your doctor as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Methylprednisolone should not be used by anyone who:
- is allergic to methylprednisolone or to any of the ingredients of the medication
- has chickenpox
- has Cushing’s syndrome
- has herpes simplex keratitis
- has systemic (in the blood) fungal infections
- has tuberculosis
- has vaccinia (reaction to smallpox vaccine)
- is being treated with a live or live-attenuated vaccine
- has idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (and receiving this medication as an intramuscular injection)
Some strengths and brands of methylprednisolone may contain lactose from cow’s milk. If you are allergic to cow’s milk protein, talk to your doctor.
The injectable form of methylprednisolone should not be injected into the brain or spine.
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- changes in the skin pigmentation at the place of injection
- decreased reflexes
- difficulty sleeping
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- facial redness
- feeling of burning, prickling, or tingling skin
- increased or decreased appetite
- increased sweating
- nervousness or restlessness
- redness, swelling, or pain at the place of injection
- weight gain
Although most of these side effects listed below don’t happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- blurred or reduced vision
- bone fractures
- changes in menstrual periods
- difficulty remembering
- increased blood pressure
- muscle cramps
- muscle weakness
- mood swings
- rapid or pounding heartbeat
- shortness of breath
- signs of depression (e.g., poor concentration, changes in weight, changes in sleep, decreased interest in activities, thoughts of suicide)
- signs of heart problems (e.g., fast, irregular heartbeat or pulse, chest pain, sudden weight gain, difficulty breathing, leg swelling)
- signs of reduced ability for blood to clot (e.g., bloody nose, blood in urine, coughing blood, cuts that don’t stop bleeding)
- signs of uncontrolled blood sugar (e.g., increased thirst, frequent urination, increased urination at night)
- signs of liver problems (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools)
- skin infection at injection site
- skin rash
- tendon pain
- thinning skin
- unusual infections (symptoms may include fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness)
- unusual skin growth
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of a serious allergic reaction (i.e., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
- signs of bleeding in the stomach (e.g., bloody, black, or tarry stools; spitting up of blood; vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds)
- signs of a heart attack (e.g., chest pain or pressure, pain extending through shoulder and arm, nausea and vomiting, sweating)
- thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- trouble breathing
The following side effects may occur if the medication is taken over long periods of time. Contact your doctor if any of these occur:
- bloody or black, tarry stools
- continuing abdominal or stomach pain
- eye pain or cataracts (clouding of the lens) or other vision problems
- irregular heartbeat
- menstrual problems
- "moon face" (filling or rounding out of face)
- muscle cramps or pain
- muscle weakness
- sensitivity of the eyes to light
- sores in the mouth
- swelling of the feet or lower legs
- symptoms of a yeast infection (e.g., thick, white vaginal discharge, itching or burning during urination)
- tearing of the eyes
- thin, shiny skin
- trouble sleeping
- unusual bruising
- unusual increase in hair growth
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- weight gain that occurs quickly
- wounds that will not heal
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Blood clots: This medication may increase the chance of blood clot formation, causing a reduction of blood flow to the organs or extremities.
If you have a history of clotting you may be at increased risk of experiencing blood clot-related problems such as heart attack, stroke, or clots in the deep veins of your leg. If you experience symptoms such as sharp pain and swelling in the leg, difficulty breathing, chest pain, blurred vision, or difficulty speaking, contact your doctor immediately.
Depression: Corticosteroids have been known to cause mood swings and symptoms of depression. If you have depression or a history of depression, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. If you experience symptoms of depression such as poor concentration, changes in weight, changes in sleep, decreased interest in activities, or notice them in a family member who is taking this medication, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Diabetes: Methylprednisolone may cause a loss of control of diabetes by increasing blood glucose (sugar). If you have diabetes, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. You may need to check your blood glucose levels more often.
Eye problems: Prolonged use of methylprednisolone may cause glaucoma with possible damage to the optic nerves or it may produce cataracts. It may also increase the risk of eye infections due to fungi or viruses. Report any change in vision, eye pain, eye irritation, redness, or discharge to your doctor as soon as possible.
Fluid and electrolyte balance: This medication may cause electrolyte imbalances (changes in the levels of certain salts in the blood). If you notice dry mouth, thirst, weakness, fatigue, muscle pain and cramps, fast heartbeat, or decreased urination, see your doctor.
Heart disease: Methylprednisolone may cause an elevation of blood pressure, salt and water retention, and increased excretion of potassium. People with heart disease should be monitored by their doctor while taking this medication. People with heart disease should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Infections: Corticosteroids can reduce your body’s ability to fight infections and may hide signs of infection that is developing. If you have had tuberculosis in the past, methylprednisolone may cause the infection to return. If you experience signs of infection such as sore throat, fever, sneezing, or coughing, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Kidney disease: Methylprednisolone may not clear from the body at the expected rate in cases where the kidney is not working properly. If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver function: Methylprednisolone may not clear from the body at the expected rate in cases where the liver is not working properly. If you have reduced liver function or liver disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Methylprednisolone may also cause harm to the liver. If you experience symptoms of liver problems such as fatigue, feeling unwell, loss of appetite, nausea, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain or swelling, and itchy skin, contact your doctor immediately.
Myasthenia gravis: Myasthenia gravis is a condition that causes specific muscle weakness. Methylprednisolone can cause muscle wasting or decreasing muscle. If you have myasthenia gravis, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Ocular herpes simplex: People who have the herpes simplex virus affecting their eye should be monitored by their doctor while taking methylprednisolone, as the medication may cause damage to the cornea.
Osteoporosis (bone disease): Methylprednisolone causes the body to lose calcium and may cause osteoporosis to develop or worsen. If you have osteoporosis or are at risk of developing osteoporosis, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Pancreatitis: Corticosteroids can cause the pancreas to become inflamed. Report signs of pancreatitis such as abdominal pain on the upper left side, back pain, nausea, fever, chills, rapid heartbeat, or swollen abdomen to your doctor immediately.
Skin test injection: Methylprednisolone, like other corticosteroids, can cause false negative test results (i.e., tuberculosis or allergy) by reducing the body’s reaction to the test serum.
Stomach ulcer: Methylprednisolone may cause stomach ulcers to worsen or develop. If you have stomach problems or a history of stomach problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Stress: A dosage adjustment of methylprednisolone may be required for anyone subjected to unusual stress.
Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism): Methylprednisolone may not clear from the body at the expected rate when a person is hypothyroid. As a result, the effects of the medication may be increased. If you have hypothyroidism, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Vaccines: People receiving immunosuppressive doses of corticosteroids should not receive live or live-attenuated (modified) vaccines, as there is a risk of infection and poor immune response to the vaccine.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking methylprednisolone, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding
Children: The active ingredient in this medication, methylprednisolone, belongs to the family of medications known as corticosteroids. Children may be more likely to experience the side effects encountered by using this class of medication for long periods of time (e.g., slowing down of growth, delayed weight gain). The use of this medication by children should be limited to the smallest dose that will be effective. Discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits of the use of this medication for children.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between methylprednisolone and any of the following:
- amphotericin B
- antacids (aluminum hydroxide, calcium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide) with oral methylprednisolone only
- ASA (acetylsalicylic acid)
- azole antifungals (e.g., itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole)
- birth control pills
- blood pressure medications (e.g., metoprolol, diltiazem, ramipril, losartan)
- cholestyramine (with oral methylprednisolone only)
- colestipol (with oral methylprednisolone only)
- diabetes medications (e.g., chlorpropamide, glyburide, insulin, metformin, rosiglitazone)
- diuretics (water pills; e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide)
- HIV non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs; e.g., delavirdine, efavirenz, etravirine, nevirapine)
- HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., atazanavir, indinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir)
- macrolide antibiotics (e.g., clarithromycin, erythromycin)
- muscle relaxants (e.g., atracurium, pancuronium, rocuronium)
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs; e.g., celecoxib, ibuprofen, naproxen)
- quinolone antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, norfloxacin)
- tacrolimus (topical)
- tuberculosis vaccine (BCG)
- vaccines (e.g., vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella)
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/drug/getdrug/Medrol