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Supportive Care

Brand names:

Depo-Medrol®, Medrol®, Solu-Medrol®

Other names:

Methylprednisolone Acetate, Methylprednisolone Sodium Succinate, Methylpred

Often used for:

Inflammation, allergies, leukemia, lymphoma, side effects of cancer treatments, prevention of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after stem cell transplant

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What is methylprednisolone?

Methylprednisolone is a type of medicine called a corticosteroid. It can be used as for many conditions. Methylprednisolone may be used to treat:

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May be taken as a tablet by mouth

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May be given into a vein by IV


May be given as a liquid injected into a muscle or joint

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Possible side effects

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

Steroids have many side effects that sometimes require close monitoring (for example, by blood or urine tests) especially the longer a patient is taking them.

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. Find more information on side effects.

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Possible long-term or late effects

Some patients may have 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 patients and families

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

  • This medicine can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of infection. Wash hands often, keep patient areas clean, and avoid contact with people who are sick.  
  • Your care team may suggest a low-sodium, low-sugar, high-protein diet. A clinical dietitian can suggest ways to make healthy food choices and manage increased appetite.
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment. Learn more about sexual health during treatment.
  • Patients should tell their care provider if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Methylprednisolone at home:

  • Finish all doses of the medicine as instructed by a doctor or pharmacist. Do not give more often or in greater amounts than recommended.
  • 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.