Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jan 3, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
- Powder for Solution
Therapeutic Class: Endocrine-Metabolic Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Adrenal Glucocorticoid
Uses for methylprednisolone
Methylprednisolone injection provides relief for inflamed areas of the body. It is used to treat a number of different conditions, such as inflammation (swelling), severe allergies, adrenal problems, arthritis, asthma, blood or bone marrow problems, eye or vision problems, lupus, skin conditions, kidney problems, ulcerative colitis, and flare-ups of multiple sclerosis. Methylprednisolone is a corticosteroid (cortisone-like medicine or steroid). It works on the immune system to help relieve swelling, redness, itching, and allergic reactions.
Methylprednisolone is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your doctor.
Before using methylprednisolone
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For methylprednisolone, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to methylprednisolone or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of methylprednisolone injection in children. However, pediatric patients are more likely to have slower growth and bone problems if methylprednisolone injection is used for a long time. Recommended doses should not be exceeded, and the patient should be carefully monitored during treatment.
Depo-Medrol® and some strengths of Solu-Medrol® injection should not be used in premature infants. Both brands of methylprednisolone injection contain benzyl alcohol, which may cause serious unwanted effects in premature infants.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of methylprednisolone injection in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have liver, kidney, or heart problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for elderly patients receiving methylprednisolone injection.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving methylprednisolone, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using methylprednisolone with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
- Rotavirus Vaccine, Live
Using methylprednisolone with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Amtolmetin Guacil
- Choline Salicylate
- Flufenamic Acid
- Mefenamic Acid
- Niflumic Acid
- Nimesulide Beta Cyclodextrin
- Salicylic Acid
- Sodium Salicylate
- Tiaprofenic Acid
- Tolfenamic Acid
Using methylprednisolone with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of methylprednisolone. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Allergy to cow's milk or other dairy products or
- Brain injury, traumatic or
- Cerebral malaria or
- Fungal infections, systemic or
- Herpes simplex eye infection, active or
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (low platelet count)—Should not be given to patients with these conditions.
- Cataracts or
- Congestive heart failure or
- Cushing's syndrome (adrenal gland problem) or
- Depression or
- Diabetes or
- Emotional problems or
- Eye infection or
- Glaucoma or
- Heart attack, recent or
- Heart disease or
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) or
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) or
- Liver disease (eg, cirrhosis, hepatitis) or
- Mental illness or
- Myasthenia gravis (severe muscle weakness) or
- Osteoporosis (weak bones) or
- Stomach or bowel problems (eg, diverticulitis, ulcers, ulcerative colitis) or
- Thyroid problems or
- Tuberculosis, inactive—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Infection (bacteria, virus, fungus, parasite, or protozoa)—May decrease your body's ability to fight infection.
Proper use of methylprednisolone
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you methylprednisolone. It may be given through a needle placed into one of your veins, as a shot into a muscle or joint, or as a shot into a lesion on your skin.
Your doctor may give you a few doses of methylprednisolone until your condition improves, and then switch you to an oral medicine that works the same way. If you have any concerns about this, talk to your doctor.
Precautions while using methylprednisolone
It is very important that your doctor check you or your child's progress at regular visits to make sure methylprednisolone is working properly and to decide if you should continue to receive it. Blood or urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Using methylprednisolone while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while receiving methylprednisolone, tell your doctor right away.
If you are receiving methylprednisolone for a long time, the skin at the injection site may become slightly depressed or wrinkled. Talk to your doctor if you notice any of these changes at the injection site: depressed or indented skin, or pain, redness, or sloughing (peeling) of the skin.
Methylprednisolone may cause an allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are receiving methylprednisolone.
If you are receiving methylprednisolone for a long time, tell your doctor about any extra stress or anxiety in your life, including other health concerns and emotional stress. Your dose of methylprednisolone might need to be changed for a short time while you have extra stress.
Receiving too much of methylprednisolone or receiving it for a long time may increase your and your child's risk of having adrenal gland problems. Talk to your doctor right away if you or your child have more than one of these symptoms while receiving methylprednisolone: blurred vision, dizziness or fainting, a fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat, increased thirst or urination, irritability, or unusual tiredness or weakness.
Methylprednisolone may cause you or your child to get more infections than usual. Avoid people who are sick or have infections and wash your hands often. If you or your child are exposed to chickenpox or measles, tell your doctor right away. If you or your child start to have a fever, chills, sore throat, or any other sign of an infection, call your doctor right away.
Tell your doctor if you or your child have recently spent time in a tropical climate or have unexplained diarrhea before receiving methylprednisolone.
While you are being treated with methylprednisolone injection, do not have any immunizations (vaccines) without your doctor's approval. Methylprednisolone may lower your body's resistance and the vaccine may not work as well or you might get the infection the vaccine is meant to prevent. In addition, you should not be around other persons living in your household who receive live virus vaccines because there is a chance they could pass the virus on to you. Some examples of live vaccines include measles, mumps, influenza (nasal flu vaccine), poliovirus (oral form), rotavirus, and rubella. Do not get close to them and do not stay in the same room with them for very long. If you have questions about this, talk to your doctor.
Check with your doctor right away if blurred vision, difficulty in reading, eye pain, or any other change in vision occurs during or after treatment. Your doctor may want you to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).
Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
Methylprednisolone might cause thinning of the bones (osteoporosis) or slow growth in children if received for a long time. Tell your doctor if you have any bone pain or if you have an increased risk for osteoporosis. If your child is receiving methylprednisolone, tell the doctor if you think your child is not growing properly.
Methylprednisolone may cause changes in mood or behavior for some patients. Tell your doctor right away if you or your child have depression, mood swings, a false or unusual sense of well-being, trouble with sleeping, or personality changes while receiving methylprednisolone.
Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are receiving methylprednisolone. Methylprednisolone may affect the results of certain skin tests.
Do not stop receiving methylprednisolone suddenly without checking first with your doctor. Your doctor may want you or your child to gradually reduce the amount you are receiving before stopping it completely.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Methylprednisolone side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- blurred vision
- decrease in the amount of urine
- fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- mental depression
- mood changes
- noisy, rattling breathing
- numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
- pounding in the ears
- swelling of the fingers, hands, feet, or lower legs
- trouble thinking, speaking, or walking
- troubled breathing at rest
- weight gain
- difficulty with swallowing
- hives, itching, skin rash
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- tightness in the chest
- trouble breathing
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Incidence not known
- bloody, black, or tarry stools
- dark urine
- darkening of the skin
- decrease in height
- decreased vision
- eye pain or tearing
- facial hair growth in females
- flushed, dry skin
- fruit-like breath odor
- full or round face, neck, or trunk
- general feeling of illness, tiredness, or weakness
- heartburn or indigestion (severe and continuous)
- increased hunger
- increased thirst
- increased urination
- light-colored stools
- loss of appetite
- loss of sexual desire or ability
- lower back or side pain
- menstrual irregularities
- muscle pain, tenderness, wasting, or weakness
- pain in the back, ribs, arms, or legs
- painful or difficult urination
- sore throat
- stomach cramping or burning (severe)
- stomach pain
- trouble healing
- trouble sleeping
- unexplained weight loss
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- upper right abdominal or stomach pain
- vision changes
- vomiting of material that looks like coffee grounds
- yellow eyes and skin
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Increased appetite
Incidence not known
- Abnormal fat deposits on the face, neck, and trunk
- dry scalp
- lightening of normal skin color
- pain, redness, or hard skin at the injection site
- pitting or depression of the skin at the injection site
- red face
- reddish purple lines on the arms, face, legs, trunk, or groin
- swelling of the stomach area
- thinning of the scalp hair
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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