Your doctor has ordered methylprednisolone, a corticosteroid, to relieve inflammation (swelling, heat, redness, and pain). The drug will be added to an intravenous fluid that will drip through a needle or catheter placed in your vein for at least 1 hour per day.
Methylprednisolone is similar to a natural hormone produced by your adrenal glands. It is used to treat, but not cure, certain forms of arthritis; skin, blood, kidney, eye, thyroid, and intestinal disorders (e.g., colitis); and multiple sclerosis. This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Your healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, or pharmacist) may measure the effectiveness and side effects of your treatment using laboratory tests and physical examinations. It is important to keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. The length of treatment depends on how you respond to the medication.
Before administering methylprednisolone,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to methylprednisolone, aspirin, or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin), arthritis medications, aspirin, azithromycin (Zithromax), clarithromycin (Biaxin), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), digoxin (Lanoxin), diuretics ('water pills'), erythromycin, estrogen (Premarin), ketoconazole (Nizoral), oral contraceptives, phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin), rifampin (Rifadin), theophylline (Theo-Dur), and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have a fungal infection (other than on your skin); do not use methylprednisolone without talking to your doctor.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver, kidney, intestinal, or heart disease; diabetes; an underactive thyroid gland; high blood pressure; mental illness; myasthenia gravis; osteoporosis; herpes eye infection; seizures; tuberculosis (TB); or ulcers.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using methylprednisolone, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using methylprednisolone.
Before you administer methylprednisolone, look at the solution closely. It should be clear and free of floating material. Gently squeeze the bag or observe the solution container to make sure there are no leaks. Do not use the solution if it is discolored, if it contains particles, or if the bag or container leaks. Use a new solution, but show the damaged one to your healthcare provider.
It is important that you use your medication exactly as directed. Do not change your dosing schedule without talking to your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider may tell you to stop your infusion if you have a mechanical problem (such as a blockage in the tubing, needle, or catheter); if you have to stop an infusion, call your healthcare provider immediately so your therapy can continue.
Methylprednisolone may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- unusual moods
- increased sweating
- increased hair growth
- reddened face
- thinned skin
- easy bruising
- tiny purple skin spots
- irregular or absent menstrual periods
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- swollen feet, ankles, and lower legs
- muscle pain and weakness
- eye pain
- vision problems
- puffy skin (especially the face)
- a cold or infection that lasts a long time
Your healthcare provider probably will give you a several-day supply of methylprednisolone at a time. You will be told how to prepare each dose.
Store your medication only as directed. Make sure you understand what you need to store your medication properly.
Keep your supplies in a clean, dry place when you are not using them, and keep all medications and supplies out of reach of children. Your healthcare provider will tell you how to throw away used needles, syringes, tubing, and containers to avoid accidental injury.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
If you are receiving methylprednisolone in your vein or under your skin, you need to know the symptoms of a catheter-related infection (an infection where the needle enters your vein or skin). If you experience any of these effects near your intravenous catheter, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible:
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Last Reviewed: September 1, 2010.