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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:
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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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Related Disease Conditions
Chronic Rhinitis and Post-Nasal Drip
Chronic rhinitis (non allergic rhinitis) causes runny nose, sneezing, nasal itching and congestion. Post-nasal drip is drainage of mucus from the sinuses into the throat. Treatment includes over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac
Poison ivy, oak, and sumac contain a substance called urushiol, which causes a rash on people who come in contact with them. Symptoms and signs include a red, swollen, itchy, blistering, bumpy rash. Treatment involves rinsing the exposed area with water, taking antihistamines and over-the-counter pain medications, using topical treatments such as calamine lotion, and applying cool compresses.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as well as other organs in the body. Early RA signs and symptoms include anemia, both sides of the body affected (symmetric), depression, fatigue, fever, joint deformity, joint pain, joint redness, joint stiffness, joint swelling, joint tenderness, joint warmth, limping, loss of joint function, loss of joint range of motion, and polyarthritis.
An allergy refers to a misguided reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. When these allergens come in contact with the body, it causes the immune system to develop an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to it. It is estimated that 50 million North Americans are affected by allergic conditions. The parts of the body that are prone to react to allergies include the eyes, nose, lungs, skin, and stomach. Common allergic disorders include hay fever, asthma, allergic eyes, allergic eczema, hives, and allergic shock.
Psoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales. There are several types of psoriasis, including psoriasis vulgaris, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and pustular psoriasis. Symptoms vary depending on the type of psoriasis the patient has. Treatment of psoriasis may include creams, lotions, oral medications, injections and infusions of biologics, and light therapy. There is no cure for psoriasis.
Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a disorder that causes symptoms like pain, clicking, and popping of the jaw. TMJ is caused by injury to the temporomandibular joint. Stress, poor posture, jaw trauma, genetic predisposition, and inflammatory disorders are risk factors for the condition. A variety of self-care measures (application of ice, use of over-the-counter pain medication, massage, relaxation techniques) and medical treatment options (dental splint, Botox, prescription medications, surgery) are available to manage TMJ. The prognosis of TMJ is good with proper treatment.
Buildup of uric acid crystals in a joint causes gouty arthritis. Symptoms and signs include joint pain, swelling, heat, and redness, typically of a single joint. Gout may be treated with diet and lifestyle changes, as well as medication.
Eczema refers to skin inflammation. There are many different types of eczema that produce symptoms and signs that range from oozing blisters to crusty plaques of skin. Treatment varies depending upon the type of eczema the person has.
Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE)
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of body tissues caused by autoimmune disease. Lupus can cause disease of the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, joints, and nervous system. When only the skin is involved, the condition is called discoid lupus. When internal organs are involved, the condition is called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Eczema is a general term for many types dermatitis (skin inflammation). Atopic dermatitis is the most common of the many types of eczema. Other types of eczema include: contact eczema, allergic contact eczema, seborrheic eczema, nummular eczema, stasis dermatitis, and dyshidrotic eczema.
Cystic acne is distinguished by painful nodules on the chest, face, neck, and back. This form of acne is known to scar. Treatment may incorporate the use of hormonal therapies, oral antibiotics, and prescription medications.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammation of the colon. Symptoms and signs include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. Ulcerative colitis is closely related to Crohn's disease, and together they are referred to as inflammatory bowel disease. Treatment depends upon the type of ulcerative colitis diagnosed.
Spinal Cord Injury: Treatments and Rehabilitation
When vertebrae are broken or dislocated, the result can cause traumatic injury to the spinal cord. A spinal cord injury can have significant physiological consequences. One indication of the severity of a spinal cord injury are respiratory complications. Spinal cord injuries are classified as either. Rehabilitation and recovery of a spinal cord injury is dependant upon the type of injury.
Neutropenia is a marked decrease in the number of neutrophils, neutrophils being a type of white blood cell (specifically a form of granulocyte) filled with neutrally-staining granules, tiny sacs of enzymes that help the cell to kill and digest microorganisms it has engulfed by phagocytosis. Signs and symptoms of neutropenia include gum pain and swelling, skin abscesses, recurrent ear and sinus infections, sore mouth, low-grad fever, pneumonia-like symptoms, and pain and irritation around the rectal area. Neutropenia has numerous causes, for example, infections (HIV, TB, mono); medications (chemotherapy); vitamin deficiencies (anemia); bone marrow diseases (leukemias), radiation therapy, autoimmune destruction of neutrophils, and hypersplenism. Treatment of neutropenia depends upon the cause and the health of the patient.
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle and can be caused by a variety of infections, conditions, and viruses. Symptoms of myocarditis include chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, and fluid accumulation in the lungs. Treatment mainly involves preventing heart failure with medication and diet, as well as monitoring for heart rhythm abnormalities.
Psoriatic arthritis is a disease that causes skin and joint inflammation. Symptoms and signs include painful, stiff, and swollen joints, tendinitis, and organ inflammation. Treatment involves anti-inflammatory medications and exercise.
Chronic bronchitis is a cough that occurs daily with production of sputum that lasts for at least 3 months, 2 years in a row. Causes of chronic bronchitis include cigarette smoking, inhaled irritants, and underlying disease processes (such as asthma, or congestive heart failure). Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Treatments include bronchodilators and steroids. Complications of chronic bronchitis include COPD and emphysema.
Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease, primarily involving the small and large intestine, but which can affect other parts of the digestive system as well. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss are common symptoms and signs.
Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)
Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is an irritation of the nose caused by pollen and is associated with the following allergic symptoms: nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, eye and nose itching, and tearing eyes. Avoidance of known allergens is the recommended treatment, but if this is not possible, antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays may help alleviate symptoms.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms and Treatments
Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms vary from person to person, and can last for days to months without periods of remission. Symptoms of MS include sexual problems and problems with the bowel, bladder, eyes, muscles, speech, swallowing, brain, and nervous system. The early symptoms and signs of multiple sclerosis usually start between age 20 and 40. MS in children, teens, and those over age 40 is rare. Treatment options for multiple sclerosis vary depending on the type and severity of symptoms. Medications may be prescribed to manage MS symptoms.
Optic neuritis is inflammation of the optic nerve, the structure that connects the eye to the brain. The precise cause of optic neuritis is unknown, but it is thought to be a type of autoimmune disorder. Optic neuritis most commonly develops due to an autoimmune disorder that may be triggered by a viral infection.
There are two types of asthma medications: long-term control with anti-inflammatory drugs and quick relief from bronchodilators. Asthma medicines may be inhaled using a metered-dose inhaler or nebulizer or they may be taken orally. People with high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, or heart disease shouldn't take OTC asthma drugs like Primatene Mist and Bronkaid.
Superior Vena Cava Syndrome
Superior vena cava syndrome is compression of the superior vena cava vein located in the upper chest. Causes of superior vena cava include lung cancer, lymphoma, other cancers in the chest, blood clots in the superior vena cava, or infection. Symptoms of the syndrome include shortness of breath. Superior vena cava syndrome is diagnosed by ultrasound, chest X-ray, CT scan, and in some cases biopsy. Treatment depends upon the cause of the syndrome.
Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC) Treatment
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is thought to be an autoimmune disorder that involves the deterioration of the liver's small bile ducts. These ducts are crucial to transport bile to the small intestine, digesting fats and removing wastes. Symptoms of PBC are edema, itching, elevated cholesterol, malabsorption of fat, liver cancer, gallstones, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and hypothyroidism. Treatments include ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA); colchicine (Colcrys); and immunosuppressive medications, such as corticosteroids; obeticholic acid (Ocaliva); and medications that treat PBC symptoms. For PBC that is associated with cirrhosis of the liver, liver transplantation may be indicated in extreme cases.
What Is IgA Nephropathy (Berger's Disease)?
Berger's disease or immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy is a kidney disorder that presents with the passing of blood in the urine. This happens due to swelling of the glomeruli (filtering units of the kidney that produce urine). The swelling is usually caused due to a buildup of a substance called IgA in the kidneys.
Neuromyelitis Optica (Devic's Syndrome)
Neuromyelitis optica (Devic's syndrome) is a disease of the CNS that affects the optic nerves and spinal cord. People with neuromyelitis optica develop optic neuritis and transverse myelitis. There is no cure for neuromyelitis optica; however, there are therapies to treat attacks when they occur.
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