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What Is Methylpred Used to Treat?

By Morgan Stanfield ; Updated July 27, 2017

Methylpred is a common name for the prescription drug methylprednisolone. It is a synthetic corticosteroid hormone that is derived from the hormone progesterone. It is available as a generic drug. It is also marketed under the names Cadista, Medrol, Phocenta and Solu-Medrol in the United States and Canada. It is marketed as Medrol and Medrone in the United Kingdom. It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent (reduces or suppresses inflammation), an anti-emetic (prevents nausea or vomiting), a glucocorticoid (regulates how the body uses carbohydates) and a neuroprotective agent (prevents damage to the nervous system).

What It's Used For

Methylpred is used to treat a very wide variety of diseases and conditions. Those listed below include ones for which the drug is approved as a treatment by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and some of those for which the drug is prescribed "off label," according to a doctor's professional judgement.

Allergic reactions: Atopic dermatitis Bronchial asthma Contact dermatitis Drug hypersensitivity reactions Seasonal and environmental allergies

Connective-tissue diseases: Acute rheumatic carditis Lupus Systemic dermatomyositis (polymyositis)

Respiratory diseases: Berylliosis Sarcoidosis Loeffler's syndrome Pneumonia Pulmonary tuberculosis (adjunct therapy only)

Rheumatic disorders (arthritis): Acute gouty arthritis Ankylosing spondylitis Bursitis Epicondylitis Osteoarthritis Psoriatic arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis Synovitis of osteoarthritis

Skin disorders: Bullous dermatitis herpetiformis Exfoliative dermatitis Fungal infection Pemphigus Psoriasis Severe erythema multiforme Severe seborrheic dermatitis

Miscellaneous other conditions: Adrenocortical insufficiency Anemia Congenital adrenal hyperplasia Herpes zoster of the eye Hypercalcemia associated with cancer Inflammations and irritations that appear in the eye Leukemias Lymphomas Multiple sclerosis Organ transplant rejection Regional enteritis Thyroiditis Trichinosis that affects the nervous system or heart Tubercular meningitis Ulcerative colitis

How It Works

According to Mosby's Medical Dictionary, it is unclear exactly how methylprednisolone works. However, it is known that it suppresses the immune system by interfering with the actions of T-cells and macrophages (cells that attack foreign cells and particles). It also stabilizes the membranes of white blood cells, which helps reduce overall inflammation.

What It Looks Like

According to Pfizer Inc., which manufactures one form of methylprednisolone, the drug in its raw form is an odorless, crystalline powder that is nearly white. It doesn't dissolve in water, but does dissolve in alcohol, dioxane, methanol, acetone and chloroform. It is available in tablets, injectable solutions and suspensions for injection.

Drug Interactions

Before you take methylprednisolone, make sure that your doctor knows about any other drugs, supplements or herbs that you take.

It is very important to tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following drugs: Antibiotics Anticoagulants (blood thinners) Antidiabetics (including insulin) Barbiturates Digitalis Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, including aspirin and ibuprofen) Vaccines Drugs used to treat tuberculosis.

Taking methylpred with any of the above drugs can cause serious side effects.

Taking estrogen, including birth control pills, makes methylpred work as if it was about 50 percent stronger. If you are taking hormones, your methylpred dosage may need to be lowered.

Taking phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin) or rifampin (Rimactane) may make your body absorb methylprednisolone faster than usual, making it seem less effective.

Warnings and Side Effects

Don't take methylpred without a doctor's prescription. Don't take it if you have a viral or fungal infection of the skin or if you have impaired circulation.

Skin inflammation or other skin reactions are a common side effect of topical use of methylpred.

Contact your doctor immediately if you take methylpred and have any of these rare, but serious side effects: Intestinal bleeding Electrolyte imbalances, with symptoms such as heart palpitations Endocrine disturbances, with symptoms such as mood swings or sudden weight gain or loss Neurologic disturbances, with symptoms such as confusion, limb pain, or itching without inflammation Fluid imbalances, with symptoms such as dehydration or swelling of the limbs

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