Medrol
Medrol
Methylprednisolone
Select product strength & quantity:
Select product strength & quantity:

Medrol (methylprednisolone)

What is Medrol?

Medrol, otherwise known as methylprednisolone, is a corticosteroid used for the purpose of reducing inflammation attributed to injury, chronic and autoimmune conditions (such as asthma and lupus), severe allergies, and various other medical conditions.

How is Medrol Used?

Medrol can be used alongside other medications or by itself. It comes in either a dose pack or a standard medication bottle containing the tablets along with instructions on when and how to take the medication.

Storage

Medrol should be stored in a controlled environment at room temperature (between 68°F and 77°F). It should be disposed of if it becomes outdated or is no longer needed. Contact a healthcare professional or a local pharmacy to ask about the safe and appropriate disposal of any unneeded or outdated medications.

Keep this medication out of the reach of children at all times.

Avoid letting your medication be exposed to direct light, moisture/humidity, excessive heat, or freezing temperatures.

Uses

Medrol is prescribed for a variety of conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Severe allergies
  • Asthma
  • Infections
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Eye swelling or ulcers
  • Blood cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Gout
  • Lymphatic cancer
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Psoriasis and other skin conditions
  • Lupus and other collagen-related diseases
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Certain endocrine disorders
  • Respiratory conditions

How Does Medrol Work?

Medrol is absorbed via the patient’s gastrointestinal tract after being consumed orally in tablet form. It is often prescribed to be taken in regular and decreasing intervals to alleviate the symptoms caused by persistent or excessive inflammation. It does this by altering the immune response within the body and suppressing the immune system by mimicking glucocorticoid hormones to reduce the production of leukocytes (i.e., white blood cells).

Most patients notice Medrol begin working within just a couple of hours of taking their first dose.

Patients should take this medication as exactly prescribed by their doctor to avoid an increased risk of side effects or other adverse reactions.

Dosage

Medrol is available in the strengths below:

  • 2 mg tablets
  • 4 mg tablets
  • 8 mg tablets
  • 16 mg tablets
  • 32 mg tablets

The appropriate dosage of Medrol will need to be determined by your physician based on the specific medical condition for which it is being prescribed. This will vary by patient, and patients will need to follow their doctor’s instructions regarding the frequency and dosage of the medication. Do not modify the provided schedule recommended by your doctor or the packaging instructions when taking Medrol. Patients will need to stick to the appropriate dosage, frequency, and duration of taking the medication to appropriately treat the associated medical condition for which it has been prescribed and avoid adverse reactions.

Overdose

If overdose is suspected, please contact your doctor or your local Poison Control Center. Medrol is not typically associated with life-threatening symptoms from overconsumption, and patients are more at risk of side effects from prolonged use compared to an accidental overdose.

However, if you experience a dangerous increase in blood pressure, water or salt retention with excessive swelling, or symptoms attributed to low levels of potassium that are significantly severe, call 911 immediately or go to your nearest emergency room.

Side Effects

If you experience any signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction, seek out immediate medical attention. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include swelling of the mouth, face, eyes, hands, or throat; a rash or hives; itching; trouble swallowing; or difficulty breathing.

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience vision problems, tarry or black stool, muscle weakness, a swollen face, or excessive swelling in your lower legs or ankles.

The most common side effects of taking Medrol are as follows:

  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Excitability
  • Changes in appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sweating
  • Acne

Some of the following side effects may occur and should be discussed with your doctor if they remain persistent or increase in severity while taking Medrol:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • An increase in hair growth
  • Stomach disturbances
  • Dizziness
  • Bruising
  • Absent or irregular menstruation
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep difficulties

Please contact your doctor for further information if you experience any of the following additional side effects and have any concerns.

Gastrointestinal Side Effects

  • Bloating
  • Inflammation of the esophagus
  • Pancreatitis
  • Peptic ulcers

Musculoskeletal Side Effects

  • Osteoporosis
  • Reduction of muscle mass
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fractures

Electrolyte and Fluid-Associated Side Effects

  • Fluid retention
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Loss of potassium
  • Retention of sodium

Neurological Side Effects

  • Headache
  • Convulsions
  • An increase in intracranial pressure
  • Vertigo

Psychiatric Side Effects

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Psychosis
  • Changes in personality
  • Excessive excitability or feelings of happiness

Dermatologic Side Effects

  • Sweating
  • Suppressed reaction to any skin tests
  • Redness of the face
  • Petechiae
  • Impaired wound healing
  • Increased fragility of the skin
  • Thinning of the skin

Endocrine Side Effects

  • Suppressed growth (in children)
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Changes in insulin production
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Development of Cushing syndrome or associated symptoms
  • Weight loss

Metabolic Side Effects

  • Hives
  • Skin rash
  • Itching
  • Anaphylaxis

Ophthalmic Side Effects

  • Changes in eye pressure
  • Eye pain
  • Changes in vision
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Bulging eyes

Warnings & Precautions

Patients taking Medrol will need to be monitored by their doctors for the development of conditions such as hypokalemia, infection, osteoporosis, glycosuria, hyperglycemia, hypertension, edema, and sodium retention. This can be done through the use of blood and urine tests.

Corticosteroids, such as Medrol, may also mask the signs typically associated with infection and make these harder to detect. Patients taking this medication are at an increased risk of bacterial, viral, protozoan, helminthic, and fungal infections due to suppression of the immune system. This suppression may also lead to more severe symptoms associated with infection as well as an increased risk of fatality and a reduced ability to keep such an infection localized within the body.

Individuals with preexisting emotional instability or other psychological concerns may experience increased severity of symptoms while taking Medrol.

Children

Children are typically treated with the lowest dose of Medrol possible as determined safe and beneficial by their doctor. Impaired growth has been shown to occur in children taking this medication for longer periods of time, and their development will need to be monitored closely.

Adrenal Glands

Taking steroid medications, such as Medrol, can lead to adrenal insufficiency and affect the levels of cortisol being produced within the body. Symptoms of this condition include dizziness, fainting, increased urination, increased thirst, weakness, fatigue, blurred vision, and a heartbeat that is irregular, pounding, or quick.

Infection Risk

The immune suppression that occurs as a result of taking this medication can lead to an increased risk of infection. Patients prescribed Medrol and taking it as instructed should wash their hands often and practice proper hygiene to decrease their chances of infection. These patients will also need to avoid individuals who have infections or may be sick. Contact a doctor immediately if you are taking Medrol and are exposed to measles or chickenpox or develop symptoms of infection such as fever, a sore throat, chills, swollen lymph nodes, or other recognizable symptoms commonly associated with infection.

Food Interactions

Individuals taking Medrol should avoid consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice while taking this medication as it will increase the levels of Medrol present in the body and thereby increase the chances of side effects occurring.

Stress

When Medrol is taken for an extended period of time, patients are at risk of the medication causing high cortisol levels. If you are prescribed and taking this medication and experiencing any significant additional stress in your life, be sure to share this information with your doctor. Your dose or frequency of taking this medication may need to be adjusted to accommodate the body’s natural increase in cortisol alongside the changes caused by the medication itself.

Vaccines

Any patient taking Medrol should not receive any immunizations nor be exposed to individuals who have received live vaccines. Medrol lowers a patient’s immune response, meaning that the vaccine may be less effective or the individual may contract the condition the immunization was intended to prevent. Individuals taking Medrol are also at risk for contracting viruses from those who have recently received live vaccines, such as those for mumps, measles, rotavirus, rubella, poliovirus, and influenza (for those who received the nasal vaccination for the flu). If someone in your household has received a live vaccine while you are taking this medication, contact your physician for additional information on how to reduce your risk of infection.

Psychological Changes

The development or occurrence of psychiatric symptoms is not uncommon for individuals taking Medrol that may be sensitive to corticosteroids or that are already experiencing psychological health concerns. Speak to your doctor about any mental health conditions or related concerns before beginning this medication, and contact your doctor if you begin to experience any of the following symptoms after beginning your course of treatment involving Medrol: personality changes, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, depression, euphoria, behavioral disturbances, acute psychosis, symptoms of anxiety, or cognitive impairment.

Sodium Retention

Medications such as Medrol are associated with fluid retention and increased retention of sodium. This can lead to edema, hypokalemia (low potassium), and hypertension (increased blood pressure). Patients with pre-existing hypertension will need to be carefully monitored by their doctor and discuss if changes to their current hypertension medications will need to be made in response to the presence of corticosteroids.

Osteoporosis

Long-term or high-dose use of Medrol has been linked to instances of osteoporosis, bone loss, and an increased frequency of broken bones. Taking Medrol for the shortest length of time possible will reduce your risk of osteoporosis and associated fractures. Speak to your doctor about weighing the risks versus the benefits when prescribing Medrol if you are currently at risk of experiencing osteoporosis or other bone-related conditions or have already been diagnosed with this condition.

Pregnancy

Medrol is listed as a category C medication, meaning that a pregnant individual may be prescribed this medication if her physician has determined the benefits of Medrol outweigh any potential risks to the unborn baby. Medrol has not been confirmed to cause any abnormalities in children born of mothers who were prescribed and took this medication as instructed during pregnancy. Short-term use is generally considered safe, but it is recommended that infants be monitored for hypoadrenalism after birth for mothers who took this medication during pregnancy.

Additional Medical Conditions

If you have any of the following medical conditions, exercise caution when taking Medrol and discuss your medical history with your doctor before beginning this medication:

  • Diabetes
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Ocular herpes simplex
  • Heart disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Glaucoma
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver problems
  • Systemic sclerosis
  • Ulcers

Drug Interactions

Speak to your doctor about any medications or herbal supplements you are currently taking before beginning treatment with Medrol. This medication is known to interact with certain vitamins, herbs, and prescription and over-the-counter medications. Discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor or a trusted pharmacist.

Drugs That Amplify the Risk of Medrol Side Effects

These medications are known to interact with Medrol and may increase your chances of experiencing adverse Medrol side effects:

  • Ketoconazole
  • Cyclosporine

Drugs That Should Not Be Used with Medrol

The following should never be used alongside Medrol and may result in severe infection and other serious health concerns:

  • Live vaccines (varicella/chickenpox, nasal flu vaccine, MMR)

Drugs Whose Side Effects May Be Increased When Taken with Medrol

These medications may have their side effects become more serious or prominent when taken in conjunction with Medrol:

  • Aspirin
  • Heparin and warfarin

Speak to your doctor before starting Medrol if you currently take any supplements or medications to manage blood clotting conditions.

Drugs That May Make Medrol Less Effective

When taken with the following, Medrol may be less effective and not work as well:

  • Rifampin
  • Phenytoin
  • Phenobarbital

Other Drugs That May Interact with Medrol

The following medications are also indicated to potentially cause interactions when used while taking Medrol:

  • Aldesleukin
  • Aluminum hydroxide
  • Amphotericin B
  • Antacids
  • Aprepitant
  • Acetylsalicylic acid
  • Antifungals
  • Atazanavir
  • Atracurium
  • BCG
  • Birth control pills
  • Calcitriol
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Carbamazepine
  • Ceritinib
  • Chlorpropamide
  • Cholestyramine
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Clarithromycin
  • Cobicistat
  • Colestipol
  • Conivaptan
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Delavirdine
  • Denosumab
  • Desmopressin
  • Diuretics
  • Diabetes medications
  • Donepezil
  • Echinacea
  • Efavirenz
  • Etravirine
  • Erythromycin
  • Estrogens
  • Fingolimod
  • Furosemide
  • Galantamine
  • Glyburide
  • HIV NNRTIs
  • HIV protease inhibitors
  • Hyaluronidase
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Idelalisib
  • Indacaterol
  • Indinavir
  • Insulin
  • Isoniazid
  • Itraconazole
  • Leflunomide
  • Levofloxacin
  • Macrolide antibiotics
  • Magnesium hydroxide
  • Metformin
  • Mifepristone
  • Mitotane
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Naproxen
  • Natalizumab
  • Nefazodone
  • Nevirapine
  • Norfloxacin
  • NSAIDs
  • Pancuronium
  • Pimecrolimus
  • Pimozide
  • Primidone
  • Pyridostigmine
  • Quetiapine
  • Quinidine
  • Quinolone antibiotics
  • Rifabutin
  • Ritonavir
  • Rivastigmine
  • Rocuronium
  • Rosiglitazone
  • Saquinavir
  • Stiripentol
  • Tacrolimus (topical)
  • Testosterone
  • Tofacitinib
  • Tuberculosis vaccine (BCG)
  • Voriconazole

Alternative Medications

For patients who are unable to take Medrol or experiencing significant adverse side effects, alternative medications may be used to treat some of the associated conditions for which this medication is commonly prescribed:

Inflammatory Condition Alternatives

  • Dexamethasone
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Prednisolone

Rheumatoid Arthritis Alternatives

  • Actemra
  • Enbrel
  • Humira
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Methotrexate
  • Sulfasalazine

Allergic Rhinitis Alternatives

  • Allegra
  • Cetirizine
  • Flonase
  • Loratadine
  • Zyrtec

Multiple Sclerosis Alternatives

  • Ampyra
  • Aubagio
  • Copaxone
  • Gilenya
  • Tecfidera
  • Tysabri

Other Alternatives

  • Celebrex
  • Celecoxib
  • Colchicine
  • Diclofenac
  • Ibuprofen
  • Indocin
  • Indomethacin
  • Mobic
  • Naproxen

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have missed a dose of Medrol, it’s advised that you take the medication as soon as possible. If enough time has passed that it is nearly time for you to take your following dose, simply disregard the missed dose, do not take an additional dose, and just proceed forward with the prescribed dosing schedule. Do not take more than one dose at a time unless instructed to do so by your doctor.

Medrol may cause patients to experience an upset stomach and is best taken with milk or food. Patients are advised to avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice when taking Medrol. Patients taking Medrol may also be recommended by their physicians to reduce their sodium and salt intake as well as increase their potassium and protein intake when taking this medication.

Medrol is fast-acting, and many patients report noticing its effects within two hours of taking their first dose. Significant reduction of inflammation occurs around 24 hours after beginning Medrol.

Your doctor may want to check your blood or urine for signs of hypokalemia, infection, osteoporosis, glycosuria, hyperglycemia, hypertension, edema, and sodium retention.

It is advised to avoid alcohol consumption when taking Medrol due to the increased risk of side effects, weight gain, and increased bone weakness. Medrol and alcohol both suppress the immune system, and this can increase your risk of serious infection.

You should not stop taking your medication without first consulting your prescribing physician. This can lead to undesired side effects such as digestive distress, pain and inflammation, drowsiness, appetite loss, headache, and fever.

The weight gain associated with Medrol is typically due to fluid retention. For some individuals, Medrol may increase appetite and lead to increased calorie consumption resulting in weight gain.

Medrol tablets have an elimination half-life of 2.5 to 3.5 hours and will generally be cleared from a person’s system within 13 to 20 hours after taking a dose.

Medrol can cause stomach upset in some patients, and it is recommended that it be taken with food or milk to alleviate this issue.

Caffeine intake should be limited when taking Medrol due to the risk of increased stomach irritation as well as the possibility of amplifying any behavioral or psychological effects aggravated by the medication, such as excitability and insomnia.

The use of Medrol should not be stopped abruptly. Patients should speak to their doctor about how to safely taper down their medication to avoid withdrawal symptoms and allow their adrenal glands to safely return to their normal levels of hormone production. Withdrawal symptoms from abruptly stopping Medrol can include nausea, diarrhea vomiting, fatigue, weakness, decreased appetite, and abdominal pain. For some individuals, withdrawal from Medrol can become life-threatening.

Medrol is known to cause changes in behavior as well as cause the development or worsening of psychological symptoms. For patients with preexisting anxiety or panic attacks, Medrol may worsen these conditions. Please speak to your physician about any concerns or adverse side effects when beginning or actively taking Medrol.

Medrol is not a narcotic medication.

Medrol is a tablet containing methylprednisolone. Additional ingredients include calcium stearate, lactose, corn starch, mineral oil, erythrosine sodium, sucrose, and sorbic acid for the 2 mg pills. The 4 mg and 8 mg Medrol tablets contain methylprednisolone along with sucrose, corn starch, lactose, and calcium stearate. The 16 mg and 32 mg tablets of Medrol consist of methylprednisolone and the addition of corn starch, mineral oil, calcium stearate, sucrose, and lactose.

You should not receive a vaccine or immunization while taking Medrol, especially a live vaccine. This can result in serious infections and potentially fatal results.

Medrol is listed as a category C medication regarding pregnancy, indicating that adverse effects were shown during animal studies, but no controlled studies have been performed regarding human pregnancy and this medication. Your doctor will determine if the benefits of this medication will outweigh any potential risks associated with taking it during pregnancy.

Medrol can be detected in very low amounts in breastmilk. It is recommended that mothers choosing to breastfeed their infants avoid doing so for 2 to 8 hours if receiving a higher dose of Medrol. If you are currently breastfeeding and need to take Medrol, consult with your physician regarding weighing the risks versus benefits to determine the most appropriate course of treatment for your health concerns.

Taking ibuprofen and Medrol together is likely to increase the occurrence of gastrointestinal side effects, such as stomach ulcers, bleeding, and inflammation.