Medrol is a prescription medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat inflammation. It is also known by its drug name, Methylprednisolone. Medrol is used to control pain, swelling, stiffness, and disease progression in rheumatoid arthritis. Medrol may be prescribed to control acute flare-ups, or for short periods until disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as Methotrexate can take effect. In general, it is best keep your dose of Medrol as low as possible and to limit the length of time you take Medrol at high doses in order to avoid serious side effects.
Medrol may not be appropriate for pregnant women or people who have systemic fungal infections. Some doctors prefer to prescribe Medrol rather than Prednisone to people who have a history of liver problems.
Medrol is a corticosteroid, a type of hormone that suppresses immune system response. Medrol is stronger than Prednisone. Medrol is believed to work by inhibiting or blocking many different inflammatory responses within the body.
How do I take it?
Corticosteroids may be administered orally or by injection into joints. For maintenance of rheumatoid arthritis, Medrol is usually taken orally once or more times per day, or every other day. If it is injected into joints, Prednisone should not be taken more than once every three or four months. If you decide to stop taking oral Medrol, it is important to tell your doctor and follow a schedule to taper off your dosage. Do not suddenly stop taking Medrol.
To help prevent the development of osteoporosis while taking Prednisone, ask your doctor about calcium and vitamin D supplements, preventative medications, and weight-bearing exercises.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Medrol.
A 2004 article reviewed the use of corticosteroids for rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers found that 44 to 75 percent of people with rheumatoid arthritis take corticosteroids. The researchers conclude that while corticosteroids can cause serious and debilitating side effects, especially at higher doses, the benefits they provide at lower doses make them an important treatment in rheumatoid arthritis.
When taken for a short time, Medrol can cause side effects including high blood sugar, fluid retention, rounding of the face known as “moon face,” nausea, sweating, heartburn, insomnia, euphoria, depression, anxiety and mania.
Longer-term effects of taking Medrol can include joint softening or destruction, diabetes, weight gain around the trunk, dementia, osteoporosis that may result in fractures, Cushing’s syndrome, glaucoma and cataracts.
People taking Medrol or other corticosteroids are more susceptible to infection due to the immunosuppressive nature of the drug. Avoid exposure to people who are sick and wash hands frequently while taking Medrol.
Like all corticosteroids, Medrol can cause psychological side effects such as mood swings, aggression, agitation or nervousness. Notify your doctor if these changes become intense or difficult to manage.
Rarely, Medrol can also cause allergic reactions. Get medical help immediately if you experience difficulty breathing or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips or tongue.