Generic Name: methylprednisolone, Oral tablet

Medrol,Medrol Dosepak

All Brands

  • Medrol
  • Medrol Dosepak
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for methylprednisolone

Oral tablet
1

Methylprednisolone is used to treat numerous conditions, including adrenal gland diseases; rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid and osteoarthritis; severe allergies; ulcerative colitis; and multiple sclerosis.

2

Your dose of methylprednisolone will depend on the condition you’re treating and factors such as your overall health.

3

Common side effects include nausea, headache, and weight gain.

4

Methylprednisolone can weaken your immune system. This may make it easier for you to get an infection and harder for your body to fight off an infection.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

May cause hormone changes

You may be able to avoid side effects by gradually reducing your dosage.

May weaken your immune system

This medication can weaken your immune system, making it easier to get infections and harder to fight them. Avoid being near people who are sick or have recently been sick. This includes people who have chicken pox, measles, or flu. Tell your doctor about any recent infections. Tell your doctor if you develop any symptoms of an infection, such as:

  • fever
  • chills
  • body aches

Avoid the smallpox vaccine

People who receive the smallpox vaccine while taking this medication are at higher risk of serious side effects. You should wait until you’ve been off the drug for 3 months before getting the smallpox vaccine. Tell your healthcare provider that you’re taking this medication before getting any shots.

Drug Features

Methylprednisolone is a prescription drug. It’s available in these forms: oral tablet, injectable suspension, and powder for injection.

Methylprednisolone is available in its generic form. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the generic will work for you.

Why It's Used

Methylprednisolone is approved to treat numerous conditions. Among them are:

  • adrenal gland diseases. Methylprednisolone is used as a supplement to maintain normal levels of different hormones in your body.

More Details

How It Works

Methylprednisolone works by decreasing inflammation or changing your body’s immune system.

Adrenal gland diseases: Some adrenal gland diseases cause your body not to produce enough steroids to keep your immune system working normally. Methylprednisolone can work against this insufficiency.

More Details

Why It's Used

Methylprednisolone is approved to treat numerous conditions. Among them are:

  • adrenal gland diseases. Methylprednisolone is used as a supplement to maintain normal levels of different hormones in your body. It’s approved to treat:
    • primary adrenocortical insufficiency (Addison disease)
    • secondary adrenocortical insufficiency
  • rheumatic disorders, including:
    • rheumatoid arthritis
    • juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
    • ankylosing spondylitis
    • bursitis
    • osteoarthritis
    • tenosynovitis
    • psoriatic arthritis
    • gouty arthritis
    • systemic lupus erythematosus
    • rheumatic carditis (inflammation of your heart)
  • severe allergies and lung diseases
  • ulcerative colitis
  • multiple sclerosis

How It Works

Methylprednisolone works by decreasing inflammation or changing your body’s immune system.

Adrenal gland diseases: Some adrenal gland diseases cause your body not to produce enough steroids to keep your immune system working normally. Methylprednisolone can work against this insufficiency.

Rheumatic disorders: Rheumatic disorders cause your immune system to attack normal cells in your body. Methylprednisolone may be used during a flare-up to help keep your immune system working normally. It can also help reduce inflammation and pain.

Severe allergies and lung diseases: Methylprednisolone works by reducing inflammation in the lungs. This helps you to be able to breathe easier.

Ulcerative colitis: Methylprednisolone helps to reduce inflammation in parts of your intestine. It may prevent sores from forming in these areas.

Multiple sclerosis: This medication may work to reduce inflammation in the central nervous system around multiple sclerosis lesions.

This may help your brain transmit signals to the rest of your body. Methylprednisolone may also help to stop your immune system from flaring up too much.

SECTION 2 of 4

methylprednisolone Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with methylprednisolone include:

  • headache

  • nausea and vomiting

  • weight gain

  • confusion, excitement, and restlessness

  • swelling of your ankles, feet, or hands

  • skin problems, such as acne, thin skin, and shiny skin

  • increased thirst

  • infection

  • high blood pressure

  • muscle weakness

  • depression

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • allergic reactions. Symptoms may include:

    • skin rash
    • itching or hives
    • swelling of your face, lips, or tongue
  • changes in emotions and mood

  • changes in vision, eye pain, or bulging eyes
  • difficulty urinating or change in the amount you urinate
  • developing diabetes. Signs may include increased thirst.
  • pain in your hips, back, ribs, arms, shoulders, or legs
  • infection. Symptoms may include:

    • fever
    • sore throat
    • sneezing
    • coughing
  • swelling of your ankles, feet, or hands (edema)

  • wounds that won’t heal

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

methylprednisolone May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Methylprednisolone may interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Food Interactions

Be careful with grapefruit juice while taking methylprednisolone. Increasing how much grapefruit juice you drink may increase the level of drug in your body, which can increase side effects.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Fungal infection drug
  • itraconazole

Hepatitis drug
  • telaprevir

Antidepressant
  • bupropion

Cancer drug
  • aldesleukin

Mental health drug
  • haloperidol

Endocrine disorder and Cushing syndrome drug
  • mifepristone

Vaccines

Don’t receive a live vaccine while taking methylprednisolone. A live vaccine is a weakened version of a disease. The vaccine will not fully protect you from disease while taking methylprednisolone.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with heart disease

Methylprednisolone can increase your blood pressure and cause salt and water retention. Tell your doctor if you have a history of heart disease.

People with diabetes

Methylprednisolone may affect your body’s ability to control your blood sugar level. You might need to check your blood sugar level more often while taking methylprednisolone. Tell your doctor if you have a history of diabetes.

People with ulcers

Methylprednisolone may cause stomach bleeding. Tell your doctor if you currently have an ulcer or have had an ulcer in the past.

People with glaucoma

Methylprednisolone can increase the pressure in your eyes if taken for long periods of time. Tell your doctor if you have glaucoma or any other eye-related illness before you start methylprednisolone.

People with infections

Methylprednisolone can weaken your immune system. This may make it easier for you to get an infection and harder for your body to fight off an infection. Avoid being near people who are sick or have recently been sick, including people with chicken pox, measles, or flu. Tell your doctor if you’ve ever had tuberculosis or have been around someone who has. Tell your doctor about any recent infections or if you develop any symptoms of an infection. Symptoms may include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • body aches

People with cirrhosis

If you have cirrhosis, the effects of methylprednisolone may be enhanced. It may be necessary to reduce the dose. Tell your doctor if you have a history of liver disease.

People with hyperthyroidism

The effects of methylprednisolone may be increased in people with overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). You might need to take a lower dose. Tell your doctor if you have a history of thyroid disease.

People with ocular herpes simplex

Use methylprednisolone with caution if you have ocular herpes simplex. You may have an increased risk of unwanted side effects.

Pregnant women

Methylprednisolone is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Methylprednisolone should only be used during pregnancy if the benefits outweigh the potential risks to the fetus.

Women who are nursing

Small amounts of methylprednisolone may pass into breast milk. This shouldn’t cause any negative effects on your baby.

For Seniors

Methylprednisolone can affect your bone density. Older adults are at higher risk for weakened bones (osteoporosis). Talk to your doctor about ways to prevent osteoporosis.

For Children

  • Methylprednisolone is generally considered safe and effective for children.
  • Methylprednisolone may slow your child’s growth. Your doctor should monitor your child’s height and growth regularly. Children should use the lowest effective dose to decrease the risks of slowed growth.

Allergies

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it a second time after an allergic reaction could be fatal.

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take methylprednisolone (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Adrenal gland diseases

Brand: Medrol

Form: Oral Tablet
Strength: 2 mg, 4 mg, 8 mg, 16 mg, 32 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • Initial dosage. The initial dose is usually 4–48 mg divided equally and taken 4 times per day. Less severe disorders may require lower doses. However, you may need higher doses. Your initial dosage will be maintained or adjusted until you respond well to the drug.
  • Maintenance dosage. If you respond well to the drug, your dose may be decreased in small amounts until you reach the lowest possible effective dosage.
  • Alternate day therapy. If you’re going to be on methylprednisolone for a long time, your doctor may recommend you take it every other day. This may help to minimize certain negative effects. 
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

Your doctor will determine your dose based on the condition being treated. It’s recommended to use the lowest effective dose needed.

Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Rheumatic disorders

Brand: Medrol

Form: Oral Tablet
Strength: 2 mg, 4 mg, 8 mg, 16 mg, 32 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • Initial dosage. The initial dose is usually 4–48 mg divided equally and taken 4 times per day. Less severe disorders may require lower doses. However, you may need higher doses. Your initial dosage will be maintained or adjusted until you respond well to the drug.
  • Maintenance dosage. If you respond well to the drug, your dose may be decreased in small amounts until you reach the lowest possible effective dosage.
  • Alternate day therapy. If you’re going to be on methylprednisolone for a long time, your doctor may recommend you take it every other day. This may help to minimize certain negative effects. 
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

Your doctor will determine your dose based on the condition being treated. It’s recommended to use the lowest effective dose needed.

Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Severe allergies

Brand: Medrol

Form: Oral Tablet
Strength: 2 mg, 4 mg, 8 mg, 16 mg, 32 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • Initial dosage. The initial dose is usually 4–48 mg divided equally and taken 4 times per day. Less severe disorders may require lower doses. However, you may need higher doses. Your initial dosage will be maintained or adjusted until you respond well to the drug.
  • Maintenance dosage. If you respond well to the drug, your dose may be decreased in small amounts until you reach the lowest possible effective dosage.
  • Alternate day therapy. If you’re going to be on methylprednisolone for a long time, your doctor may recommend you take it every other day. This may help to minimize certain negative effects. 
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

Your doctor will determine your dose based on the condition being treated. It’s recommended to use the lowest effective dose needed.

Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Ulcerative colitis

Brand: Medrol

Form: Oral Tablet
Strength: 2 mg, 4 mg, 8 mg, 16 mg, 32 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)
  • Initial dosage. The initial dose is usually 4–48 mg divided equally and taken 4 times per day. Less severe disorders may require lower doses. However, you may need higher doses. Your initial dosage will be maintained or adjusted until you respond well to the drug.
  • Maintenance dosage. If you respond well to the drug, your dose may be decreased in small amounts until you reach the lowest possible effective dosage.
  • Alternate day therapy. If you’re going to be on methylprednisolone for a long time, your doctor may recommend you take it every other day. This may help to minimize certain negative effects. 
Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

Your doctor will determine your dose based on the condition being treated. It’s recommended to use the lowest effective dose needed.

Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Multiple sclerosis

Brand: Medrol

Form: Oral Tablet
Strength: 2 mg, 4 mg, 8 mg, 16 mg, 32 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 18-64 years)

The daily dose may be 160 mg per day for 1 week. This may be followed by 64 mg every other day for one month.

Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

Your doctor will determine your dose based on the condition being treated. It’s recommended to use the lowest effective dose needed.

Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There are no specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Methylprednisolone can come with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed by your doctor.

If You Stop Taking it Suddenly

Don’t stop this medication without speaking to your doctor first. Methylprednisolone can cause a disruption in your body’s normal regulation of hormones. It’s important to gradually reduce the dosage of methylprednisolone in order to avoid negative effects.

The length of your therapy will depend on your disease and response to treatment.

What To Do if You Miss a Dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it’s almost time for your next dose, talk to your health care provider. You may need to miss a dose or take an extra dose. Don’t take double or extra doses without first talking to your health care provider.

Is This a Short-Term or Long-Term Drug?

The length of your therapy will depend on your disease and response to treatment.

Important Considerations for Taking Methylprednisolone
take it with food Take with food or milk to decrease upset stomach
clock Take it in the morning if taking it once a day See Details
can crush tablet You can cut or crush the oral tablet
storage Store at room temperature: 68–77°F (20–25°C)
luggage Travel See Details
clinical monitoring Clinical Monitoring See Details

Take it in the morning if taking it once a day

This may best line up your dose with your body’s natural hormone cycle.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry it with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show your pharmacy’s preprinted label to identify the medication. Keep the original prescription-labeled bottle with you when traveling.

Clinical Monitoring

Your doctor may perform frequent measurements of:

  • height and weight (primarily to monitor growth in children)
  • eye (intraocular) pressure
  • blood tests for potassium and sugar levels
  • blood pressure

Your doctor may look for:

  • infection
  • mood disturbances
  • blood clots
  • stomach ulcers
  • cataracts
  • brittle bones (osteoporosis)

What does the pill look like?

Showing - out of 22

Are There Any Alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.


Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on April 8, 2015

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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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