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All about: Methylprednisolone

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Generic name: Methylprednisolone
Brand names: Medrol

Why is Methylprednisolone prescribed?

Medrol, a corticosteroid drug, is used to reduce inflammation and improve symptoms in a variety of disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, acute gouty arthritis, and severe cases of asthma. Medrol may be given to people to treat primary or secondary adrenal cortex insufficiency (inability of the adrenal gland to produce sufficient hormone). It is also given to help treat the following disorders:

Severe allergic conditions (including drug-induced allergic states)
Blood disorders (leukemia and various anemias)
Certain cancers (along with other drugs)
Skin diseases (including severe psoriasis)
Connective tissue diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus
Digestive tract diseases such as ulcerative colitis
High serum levels of calcium associated with cancer
Fluid retention due to nephrotic syndrome (a condition in which damage to the kidney causes loss of protein in urine)
Various eye diseases
Lung diseases such as tuberculosis
Worsening of multiple sclerosis

Most important fact about Methylprednisolone

Medrol lowers your resistance to infections and can make them harder to treat. Medrol may also mask some of the signs of an infection, making it difficult for your doctor to diagnose the actual problem.

How should you take Methylprednisolone?

Take Medrol exactly as prescribed. It can be taken every day or every other day, depending on the condition being treated.

Do not abruptly stop taking Medrol without checking with your doctor. If you have been using Medrol for a long time, the dose should be reduced gradually.

Medrol may cause stomach upset. Take Medrol with meals or snacks.

--If you miss a dose...

If you take your dose once a day, take it as soon as you remember. Then go back to your regular schedule. If you don't remember until the next day, skip the one you missed. Do not take 2 doses at once.

If you take it several times a day, take it as soon as you remember. Then go back to your regular schedule. If you don't remember until your next dose, double the dose you take.

If you take your dose every other day, and you remember it the same morning, take it as soon as you remember and go back to your regular schedule. If you don't remember until the afternoon, do not take it until the following morning, then skip a day and go back to your regular schedule.

--Storage instructions...

Store at room temperature.

What side effects may occur?

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor immediately. Only your doctor can determine whether it is safe for you to continue taking Medrol.

  • More common side effects may include:
    Abdominal swelling, allergic reactions, bone fractures, bruising, congestive heart failure, cataracts, convulsions, Cushingoid symptoms (moon face, weight gain, high blood pressure, emotional disturbances, growth of facial hair in women), face redness, fluid and salt retention, headache, high blood pressure, increased eye pressure, increased sweating, increase in amounts of insulin or hypoglycemic medications needed, inflammation of the pancreas, irregular menstruation, muscle wasting and weakness, osteoporosis, poor healing of wounds, protruding eyes, stomach ulcer, suppression of growth in children, symptoms of diabetes, thin, fragile skin, tiny red or purplish spots on the skin, vertigo

Why should Methylprednisolone not be prescribed?

Medrol should not be used if you have a fungal infection or if you are sensitive to or allergic to steroids (corticosteroids).

Special warnings about Methylprednisolone

The 24-milligram Medrol tablet contains FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine), which has caused allergic reactions (including asthma) in some people. Although this is rare, it is more common in people who are sensitive to aspirin.

Medrol can alter the way your body responds to unusual stress. If you are injured, need surgery, or develop an acute illness, inform your doctor. Your dosage may need to be increased.

You should avoid immunization shots with live or live, attenuated vaccines while taking high doses of Medrol, because Medrol can suppress the immune system. Immunization with killed or inactivated vaccines is safe, but may have diminished effect.

Long-term use of Medrol may cause cataracts, glaucoma (increased eye pressure), and eye infections.

Large doses of Medrol may cause high blood pressure, salt and water retention, and potassium and calcium loss. It may be necessary to restrict your salt intake and take a potassium supplement.

Medrol may reactivate dormant cases of tuberculosis. If you have inactive tuberculosis and must take Medrol for an extended period of time, your doctor will prescribe anti-TB medication as well.

Medrol should be used cautiously if you have an underactive thyroid, liver cirrhosis, or herpes simplex (virus) infection of the eye.

This medication may aggravate existing emotional problems or cause new ones. You may experience euphoria (an exaggerated sense of well-being) and difficulty sleeping, mood swings, or mental problems. If you have any changes in mood, contact your doctor.

People taking corticosteroids, such as Medrol, have developed Kaposi's sarcoma, a form of cancer.

Medrol should also be taken with caution if you have any of the following conditions:

Diverticulitis or other inflammatory conditions of the intestine
High blood pressure
Certain kidney diseases
Active or dormant peptic ulcer
Myasthenia gravis (a muscle weakness disorder)
Osteoporosis (brittle bones)
Threadworm
Ulcerative colitis with impending danger of infection

Long-term use of Medrol can slow the growth and development of infants and children.

Use aspirin cautiously with Medrol if you have a blood-clotting disorder.

Avoid exposure to chickenpox and measles.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking Methylprednisolone

If Medrol is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either drug could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Medrol with the following:

Aspirin
Barbiturates such as phenobarbital
Blood thinners such as Coumadin
Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
Cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral)
Estrogen medications such as Premarin
Insulin
Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Indocin
Oral diabetes drugs such as Glucotrol
Phenytoin (Dilantin)
Rifampin (Rifadin)
Troleandomycin (Tao)
Water pills such as Lasix and HydroDIURIL

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, tell your doctor immediately. There is no information about the safety of Medrol during pregnancy. Babies born to mothers who have taken doses of Medrol (corticosteroids) during pregnancy should be carefully watched for adrenal problems. Medrol may appear in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. If Medrol is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to stop breastfeeding until your treatment with Medrol is finished.

Recommended dosage

The starting dose of Medrol tablets may vary from 4 milligrams to 48 milligrams per day, depending on the specific problem being treated.

Once you've shown a satisfactory response, the doctor will gradually lower the dosage to the smallest effective amount. If you are taking Medrol for an extended period, the doctor may instruct you to take the drug only every other day, at twice your daily dosage.

For a worsening of multiple sclerosis, the dosage is 160 milligrams a day for one week, then 64 milligrams every other day for a month.

Overdosage

Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose of Medrol, seek medical treatment immediately.

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