Methylprednisolone - oral
Methylprednisolone is used to treat conditions such as arthritis, blood disorders, severe allergic reactions, certain cancers, eye conditions, skin/kidney/intestinal/lung diseases, and immune system disorders. It decreases your immune system's response to various diseases to reduce symptoms such as swelling, pain, and allergic-type reactions. This medication is a corticosteroid hormone.
Methylprednisolone may also be used with other medications in hormone disorders.
This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
Methylprednisolone may also be used for COVID-19, but is only effective in hospitalized patients who need supplemental oxygen or a mechanical ventilator to breathe.
How to use
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually with food or milk. Follow your dosing instructions carefully. The dosage and length of treatment are based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Different dosing schedules exist for this medication. If you are not taking the same dose each day or if you take this medication every other day, it may help to mark your calendar with a reminder. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase.
Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.
If you suddenly stop using this medication, you may have withdrawal symptoms (such as weakness, weight loss, nausea, muscle pain, headache, tiredness, dizziness). To help prevent withdrawal, your doctor may lower your dose slowly. Withdrawal is more likely if you have used methylprednisolone for a long time or in high doses. Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have withdrawal. See also Precautions section.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
Nausea, vomiting, heartburn, headache, dizziness, trouble sleeping, appetite changes, increased sweating, or acne may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
This medication may make your blood sugar rise, which can cause or worsen diabetes. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of high blood sugar such as increased thirst/urination. If you already have diabetes, check your blood sugar regularly as directed and share the results with your doctor. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.
This medication may lower your ability to fight infections. This may make you more likely to get a serious (rarely fatal) infection or make any infection you have worse. Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn't go away, fever, chills, cough, white patches in the mouth).
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
- unusual weight gain
- menstrual period changes
- bone/joint pain
- easy bruising/bleeding
- mental/mood changes (such as mood swings, depression, agitation)
- muscle weakness/pain
- puffy face
- slow wound healing
- swelling of the ankles/feet/hands
- thinning skin
- unusual hair/skin growth
- vision problems
- fast/slow/irregular heartbeat
- symptoms of stomach/intestinal bleeding (such as stomach/abdominal pain, black/tarry stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds)
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including:
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
- itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
- severe dizziness
- trouble breathing
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before taking methylprednisolone, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to prednisone; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
- bleeding problems
- blood clots
- brittle bones (osteoporosis)
- eye diseases (such as cataracts, glaucoma, herpes infection of the eye)
- heart problems (such as recent heart attack, congestive heart failure)
- high blood pressure
- current/past infections (such as those caused by tuberculosis, threadworm, herpes, fungus)
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- mental/mood conditions (such as psychosis, depression, anxiety)
- stomach/intestinal problems (such as diverticulitis, ulcer, ulcerative colitis)
This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
This medicine may cause stomach bleeding. Daily use of alcohol while using this medicine may increase your risk for stomach bleeding. Limit alcoholic beverages. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Methylprednisolone can make you more likely to get infections or may worsen any current infections. Avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, measles, flu). Consult your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.
Tell your health care professional that you are using methylprednisolone before having any immunizations, vaccinations, or skin tests. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Using corticosteroid medications for a long time can make it more difficult for your body to respond to physical stress. Before having surgery or emergency treatment, or if you get a serious illness/injury, tell your doctor or dentist that you are using this medication or have used this medication within the past 12 months. Tell your doctor right away if you develop unusual/extreme tiredness or weight loss. If you will be using this medication for a long time, carry a warning card or medical ID bracelet that identifies your use of this medication. See also Medical Alert section.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially bone loss/pain, stomach/intestinal bleeding, and mental/mood changes (such as confusion).
This medication may slow down a child's growth if used for a long time. Consult the doctor or pharmacist for more details. See the doctor regularly so your child's height and growth can be checked.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may rarely harm an unborn baby. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Infants born to mothers who have been using this medication for a long time may have hormone problems. Tell your doctor right away if you notice symptoms such as nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop, severe diarrhea, or weakness in your newborn.
This medication passes into breast milk, but is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include:
- other drugs that can also cause bleeding/bruising (including antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel, "blood thinners" such as warfarin/dabigatran, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, celecoxib, aspirin, salicylates)
If your doctor has directed you to take low-dose aspirin for heart attack or stroke prevention (usually 81-162 milligrams a day), you should continue taking it unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Other medications can affect the removal of methylprednisolone from your body, which may affect how methylprednisolone works. Examples include azole antifungals (such as ketoconazole), cyclosporine, estrogens, HIV protease inhibitors (such as darunavir), macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin), ritonavir, St. John's wort, some drugs used to treat seizures (such as phenytoin, phenobarbital), among others.
This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (such as skin tests), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
If this medication is used for a long time, lab and/or medical tests (such as blood sugar/mineral levels, blood pressure, eye exams, bone density tests, height/weight measurements) should be done while you are taking this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments. Consult your doctor for more details.
Taking this medication for a long time may cause brittle bones (osteoporosis). Lifestyle changes that help promote healthy bones include increasing weight-bearing exercise, stopping smoking, getting enough calcium and vitamin D, and limiting alcohol. Consult your doctor for specific advice.
If you are taking this medication once daily and miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
If you do not take the same dose each day or if you take this medication every other day, ask your doctor or pharmacist what you should do if you miss a dose.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
Information last revised January 2023.
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