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Chemotherapy Supportive Care

Brand names:

Depo-Medrol®, Medrol®, Solu-Medrol®

Other names:

Methylprednisolone Acetate, Methylprednisolone Sodium Succinate

Often used for:

Leukemia, Lymphoma, Side effects of cancer treatments, Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after stem cell transplant

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What is Methylprednisolone?

Methylprednisolone is a type of corticosteroid that is also used as a chemotherapy. It can also be used as an anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressant drug.

Methylprednisolone can be used to decrease the body’s natural immune response and prevent or treat GVHD in hematopoietic cell transplant. This medicine may also be used to treat inflammation, allergies, asthma, skin rashes, pneumonia, and adrenal gland problems.

Urine and blood tests may be needed to monitor levels of blood glucose, potassium, calcium, and certain hormones. Patients who take methylprednisolone for a long time will be monitored to watch for eye problems and changes in growth.

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May be taken as a tablet by mouth

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May be given as a liquid into a vein by IV


May be given as a liquid injected into a muscle

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Possible Side Effects

  • Problems sleeping
  • Increased appetite
  • Changes in personality or mood
  • Restlessness
  • Stomach irritation
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Water retention, swelling of the legs or feet
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Slow wound healing
  • Increased blood sugar levels
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Acne
  • Dry skin
  • Increased sweating
  • Eye problems
  • Change in the normal menstrual cycle

Not all patients who take methylprednisolone will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Possible Late Effects

Some patients may experience long-term or late effects of treatment that may continue or develop months or years after treatment ends. Possible side effects of methylprednisolone with long-term use include:

  • Decreased muscle mass and muscle weakness
  • Impaired growth
  • Thin, fragile skin
  • Weak bones, osteoporosis
  • Eye problems including cataracts or glaucoma
  • Second cancers (Kaposi sarcoma)
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Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • The care team may recommend a low-sodium, low sugar, high-protein diet. A nutritionist can suggest ways to make healthy food choices and manage increased appetite.
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Methylprednisolone at home:

  • Take methylprednisolone at the same time each day. Take in the morning if once per day.
  • Take with food or milk to decrease stomach problems.
  • Store methylprednisolone at room temperature.
  • Give a missed dose as soon as possible. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the dose. Do not give 2 doses at the same time.
  • Do not use the medicine past the expiration date.
  • Follow instructions for safe handling and disposal.