Treatment for inflammation and immune reactions that are experienced in various organs, include the use of corticosteroids. Prednisolone derivative glucocorticoids of this category are also used in the treatment of other conditions that affect the endocrine system, apart from neoplastic ailments. Following subsections offer a detailed look at methylprednisolone that is regarded to have increased potency than prednisolone. In use for more than six decades since FDA approval, the medication has been extremely popular. Information in sections below, also include a good look at common and rare side effects for methylprednisolone. This helps patients to identify the symptoms that are indicative of effects and take suitable remedial action to mitigate it. It also helps patients to be prepared to deal with or prevent or preempt rare or adverse outcomes of the medication.

Overview of Methylprednisolone

Available as tablets, injectable suspension and also as injectable solution, the corticosteroid, as mentioned above, is used in the treatment of inflammation linked to various conditions, apart from regulating immune response of the body. Conditions that are treated with the medication are as listed below:

Does methylprednisolone help treat covid?

During the recent covid-19 outbreak, Methylprednisolone was administered in low doses as a part of therapy to treat covid-19 patients with pneumonia. It has been documented to have been successfully used in treating at least one patient who was diagnosed with long term immunosuppression along with pneumonia. Like most other drugs and medications used in the treatment for covid-19, the effectiveness of methylprednisolone as a treatment option is still a part of advanced studies. The medication has been used on a case-by-case basis, and not as a generic recommendation, or part of treatment protocols.

Methylprednisolone mechanism of action

The outcomes of methylprednisolone are attributed to the short-term effects like decreased vasodilation due to the mechanism of action of the medication. Additionally, the drug is also known to have an impact on the permeability of capillaries. The effect on inflammation is linked to the reduction in leukocyte migration, which typically occurs in inflamed sites. The binding action of this genre of drugs, to the glucocorticoid receptor is known to bring about effects that could last for many hours or days.

The medications are also known to promote genes that are identified as anti-inflammatory in nature, such as interleukin-10, and this is one of the many factors that help mitigate inflammation. As outlined above, the medication offers outcomes that are broadly classified as anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive. When administered in lower doses, corticosteroids are known to deliver anti-inflammatory outcomes; and when administered in stronger dosages, immunosuppressive outcomes are experienced. Results include increased sodium levels and reduced levels of potassium. This explains the dosage difference of the medication when treating different conditions.

Commonly reported methylprednisolone side effects

All prescription and OTC medications come with the possibility of side effects, and methylprednisolone is no exception. Common and rare side effects for methylprednisolone and other medications that are attributed to the mechanism of action of drugs and properties of medications are broadly classified into mild effects and severe effects. The mild or moderate effects are generally commonly occurring or frequently occurring in nature. These effects often do not require medical attention, with only some form of symptomatic relief necessary. Most of the mild effects are known to resolve naturally. However, effects that are persistent in nature, or effects that are of higher intensity, may require treatment.

Effects that are classified as serious in nature, are usually rare in occurrence, and in most instances, may require some kind of treatment. This is especially in the case of allergic reactions that have the potential to aggravate into something extremely serious in nature. It is important for patients to know a little about symptoms that indicate all types of effects, as this will help make a distinction. This can help avoid apprehension, and most importantly, can help prevent a condition from turning serious in nature. It is not out of place to mention that all users of medications are highly unlikely to experience effects. Some are known to be fully free from all effects whatsoever, with only a small percentage experiencing effects. Here is a look at some of the commonly occurring effects. This is not a complete list or an exhaustive one and is intended to serve as a basic reference only.

How long does it take for methylprednisolone effects to go away?

Some of the commonly occurring effects of methylprednisolone include throbbing headaches, possible feelings of nausea and vomiting sensations. The individual may end up with unexplained increase in weight. Some are known to experience confusion, while a small section of patients end up with abnormal excitement levels. Individuals on methylprednisolone are also known to be restless. Visible changes include swelling in the limb extremities such as the feet and hands. Many are known to experience problem with the skin, including thinning skin, outbreak of acne and possible shiny appearance of the skin.

The patient is also likely to be unusually thirsty, and this could pose issues in public transaction. Exposure to infections may also increase when on the medications, due to the impact on immunosuppression. The individual is likely to report spike in blood pressure levels. Overall muscle fatigue is also another effect of the drug. Effects that are known to be serious include possible allergic reactions to the drug. Certain symptoms are indicative of possible aggravation, and need to be treated at the earliest. For instance, symptoms such as outbreak of rashes, and symptoms similar to that experienced by patients with hives is another possible effect. The individual is likely to end up with mood swings, and may turn depressive due to the impact of the drug on the central nervous system.  Feelings of anxiety and possible psychotic feelings are also possible when on the drug. The patient may experience impact of the medication on the eyes, including eyes that appear to be bulging.

Impact on routines and everyday actions

In addition to the above, the individual is likely to experience effects that can be discerned, or experienced or observed physically. The individual may experience difficulty during urination, or may witness certain changes in the frequency of urination or volume of urine.  Tell-tale symptoms of diabetes may also be possibly witnessed, and this includes abnormal increase in thirst, and increased frequency of urination. These symptoms need to be identified and checked at the earliest, to prevent onset or aggravation of diabetes. The patient may also experience pain in the hips and other joints, that need to be treated to prevent it from affecting routines and abilities.

It is important to be on the lookout for symptoms that indicate certain conditions, and to take suitable remedial action to minimize the effects.

Contraindications of methylprednisolone

Similar to side effects of medications, all drugs come with the possibility of drug interactions or relative contraindications. This occurs when two or more drugs or medications are administered to treat either the same condition, or to treat different conditions. This is attributed to the mechanisms of action of the medications that may have an impact on the mechanisms of action of other drugs. These interactions are not limited to medications alone, but could also be experienced when a prescription medication is taken alongside other OTC formulations, or herbal remedies or health supplements that are broadly classified as nutraceuticals. The types of interactions are typical – there could increased potency or decreased potency in either of the medications or in both the medications. There is also the possibility of aggravated side effects in drugs when taken as a combination; than when taken alone.

Options that are used to handle such interactions include temporary suspension of either of the two drugs. This is determined by understanding the role and important of each medication. In certain instances, when drugs are to be taken on a long term or lifelong basis, one of the two medications may be permanently discontinued, and replaced with other formulations that do not interact. In the even that both the medications are equally important and do not have an alternative, the only option is to reduce the dosage and alter the schedule of intake. This is carried out in an effort to reduce or mitigate the possible effects of the relative contraindication.

What not to take with methylprednisolone?

Vaccines that belong to the category of live vaccines, that are typically administered for conditions like chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella and nasal flu are known to result in possible adverse outcomes.  When the corticosteroid is taken along with live vaccines, the individual loses protection from the vaccination.  As outlined above, certain medication may aggravate the side effects, and this includes cyclosporine, that may result in an increase in the levels of methylprednisolone in the body. Consequently, the patient is exposed to the possibility of seizures and other side effects. Similarly, ketoconazole is also known to amplify the side effects of methylprednisolone and is to be avoided.

Aggravation of side effects of other medications may also occur when taken with methylprednisolone. For instance, individuals on aspirin may experience stronger side effects of aspirin and this makes the combination unsuitable if a patient has blood clot issues.  Methylprednisolone is known to have blood thinning effects, and as a result is not to be taken with blood thinners. Other drug interactions include drugs such as phenobarbital and rifampin, that may reduce the efficacy of methylprednisolone, and this requires a suitable increase in dosage.

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