Medrol Dose Pack Instructions

By Tania K. Cowling

Medrol, also know as methyprednisolone, is a medical steroid used to rid the body of inflammation. This drug is used to treat conditions such as asthma, allergic skin disorders, arthritis, lupus, ulcerative colitis and other medical problems where a steroid medication may help. The dose pack enables the patient to get a therapeutic dose of the steroid in six days to help prevent inflammation in the body.

How to Use the Dose Pack

A Medrol Dose Pack contains 21 4-milligram pills that last for six days. The patient starts with six pills (24 milligrams) and takes one fewer each day, until the pack is finished. The pills are taken orally with a full glass of water before breakfast, after lunch, after dinner and at bedtime (according to the day). The patient gets a strong dose of the steroid on the first day of treatment and as the dose decreases by the end of the sixth day, the inflammatory problem should subside. If your medical condition does not improve, contact your physician to be re-evaluated. Store this medication away from heat or moisture.

Inform your physician of all the medications you take (prescription and over the counter) and other medical conditions you have before taking a Medrol Dose Pack. If you are scheduled for surgery, the medical staff must be aware that you are on a Medrol Dose Pack. It never should be taken if you are allergic to methylprednisolone or have a fungal infection. Since steroids can weaken the immune system, avoid people who have colds and the flu. Contact your physician if you become exposed to the measles or chicken pox, as these illnesses can become serious when a person is on steroid medication.

Take the pills in the dose pack as instructed and do not attempt to stop the pills suddenly. Unpleasant withdrawal symptoms can appear if you do not wean the steroids gradually. Steroid withdrawal symptoms include joint pain, muscle pain, fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting and fever.

Side Effects of Medrol Dose Pack

Methyprednisolone does have some side effects such as insomnia, mood changes, sweating, headache, nausea and other minor discomforts that are not serious and may lessen as your body adjusts to the medication. Contact your physician if you have problems with your vision, shortness of breath, swelling, bloody or tarry stools, fast heart rate, high blood pressure or weakness in the legs, which can indicate that you are losing potassium.

The Food and Drug Administration places Medrol as a category C in pregnancy, meaning this medication may be harmful to the fetus. Tell your physician if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during this steroid treatment. Methyprednisolone can pass into breast milk, so it may harm a nursing baby.

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