Methylprednisolone is part of a group of drugs known as corticosteroids, which are sometimes used for asthma treatment. Like other corticosteroids, methylprednisolone reduces airway inflammation, or swelling, and can be used to treat asthma.1,2 Available as an injection or a tablet, methylprednisolone is the generic form of the medication that is also known by the following brand names: Medrol®, Medrol Dosepak®, DepoMedrol®, SoluMedrol®, Methylpred-DP®.1,3-5
How does methylprednisolone work?
Methylprednisolone is an anti-inflammatory medication that works by decreasing your body’s immune response.1 Methylprednisolone is a corticosteroid that is similar to a natural hormone made by your body’s adrenal glands. When your body does not make enough of this hormone on its own, methylprednisolone can be used to treat the symptoms, commonly swelling and inflammation, that are caused by the lack of this natural hormone.6
What are the possible side effects of methylprednisolone?
Side effects are possible with any medication, and you should always be aware of possible side effects before starting any new medication. The most common side effects associated with taking methylprednisolone include: headache, nausea and vomiting, weight gain, restlessness, mild swelling in the ankles, feet, or hands, acne or other skin problems, increased thirst, infection, high blood pressure, and depression. These side effects typically are mild and go away on their own. For severe side effects that don’t go away, contact your doctor. This is not a complete list of side effects.5
More severe side effects are possible, and you should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these and are taking methylprednisolone:6
- Swelling in the face, lower legs, or ankles
- Blurred vision
- Cold or infection that lasts a long time
- Black or tarry stool
Things to know about methylprednisolone
As with any medication, the benefit of taking it should outweigh the risks. And for some asthma patients, methylprednisolone is not recommended. If you are allergic to methylprednisolone or any of its ingredients, tell your doctor. Your doctor should also know if you have any allergies to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals.5
For some groups, there is not enough scientific information to conclude if there is a high risk associated with taking methylprednisolone. The safety of methylprednisolone has not been established in children or elderly patients. Also, the safety is unknown for infants of breastfeeding mothers who take methylprednisolone.5
Also always tell your doctor what other medications you are taking if you are prescribed methylprednisolone. Some medications cannot be taken at the same time as methylprednisolone. Use of methylprednisolone with Desmopressin and live vaccines is not recommended. In addition, some medications taken with methylprednisolone may increase your risk of side effects. It is not recommended to take cyclosporine or ketoconazole with methylprednisolone because these drugs can cause the amount of methylprednisolone in your body to be increased, which increases the likelihood for side effects.5
There are other drugs that may also interact with methylprednisolone, so be sure to share all of your medications with your doctor.
Patients with heart disease, diabetes, glaucoma, liver problems, or infections may also experience problems from taking methylprednisolone, so your doctor should be aware of your health history before prescribing methylprednisolone.5