Uses and Side Effects of Methylprednisolone

People who take Methylprednisolone, or any steroid, over a long period of time and in relatively high doses must keep in mind that suddenly abandoning treatment after using it can have a negative impact on their health.
Uses and Side Effects of Methylprednisolone
María Vijande

Reviewed and approved by the pharmacist María Vijande.

Written by María Vijande

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Methylprednisolone is a synthetic derivative of cortisone, which means that it shares part of its pharmacological properties — such as its anti-inflammatory action.

However, this drug has some advantages over cortisone. For example, it doesn’t significantly alter glucose or protein metabolism, nor does it modify the electrolyte balance.

Methylprednisolone belongs to the glucocorticoid family. It’s a group of substances with powerful effects on the body: the suppression of the immune system and the anti-inflammatory power, among them.

This drug has been marketed under different pharmaceutical names and people can administer it through different routes:

  • In the form of pills for oral intake
  • Also, in the form of intravenous and intramuscular administration (for emergency situations, mainly)

What’s methylprednisolone for?

A person adding a tablet to a glass of water.

This drug is used for treating severe allergic or inflammatory reactions. This treatment is, therefore, aimed at patients in whom other therapies have either failed or haven’t been too effective.

In addition, doctors administer methylprednisolone when a patient requires an immediate dose of steroids. Usually, they opt for intravenous or intramuscular administration in these cases.

Some emergency situations could be an anaphylactic shock or an acute asthma attack. However, doctors also prescribe it for the treatment of autoimmune diseases or during severe outbreaks of them.

They also prescribe it for the following pathologies:

What’s the effect of methylprednisolone in the body?

The way to trigger it is hormonally. The drug, after being absorbed and transported by the blood system, reaches the cell membranes and can then interact at various levels.

As for the anti-inflammatory effect, it inhibits the synthesis of proteins involved in this process, enhancing the body’s natural response to situations of stress that require a quick response.

Also, it inhibits the synthesis of some substances of the T lymphocytes, cells of the immune system to carry out its immunosuppressive action. In addition, it decreases the synthesis of interleukins, thus decreasing the activity of cytotoxic lymphocytes.

Learn How to Apply Topical Corticosteroids

Side effects of methylprednisolone

A bottle of pills.

It’s important to keep in mind that this drug can have considerable effects on our body when used over a long period of time and in relatively high doses.

So, you shouldn’t suddenly abandon the treatment. This is because the sudden interruption of a steroid-based treatment can have serious consequences and even lead to death.

Aside from this, methylprednisolone, like any other drug, produces side effects people must take into account when using it. Some of the adverse reactions are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Hyperglycemia, which can lead to a diabetic condition
  • An increase in the number of infections by inhibiting the immune system
  • Gastroduodenal ulcers
  • Osteoporosis
  • An increased risk of cardiovascular problems

There are some psychological side effects as well. For instance, methylprednisone belongs to the family of steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs so it’s more likely to trigger some type of alteration of this type, especially mood changes.

Some of the other psychological symptoms are:

  • Depression
  • Psychosis
  • States of confusion

Find out Everything You Need to Know about Cortisol Excess

In conclusion

Methylprednisone belongs to the family of corticosteroids and is subject to medical prescription due to its powerful effects. Thus, you should always follow the guidelines indicated by your doctor and tell them and your pharmacist about any new symptoms you may be experiencing.

In addition, it’s extremely important to gradually stop taking this type of drug, as a sudden withdrawal could be fatal.

Thanks for reading.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Couto, A. A. de, Suzuki, A., Tâmbara, C. L., Mansur, E. M., Oliveira, G. M. M. de, Alves, M. L. M., & Westphal, O. D. (1991). Pulsoterapia com metilprednisolona em cardite reumática ativa TT – Pulsetherapy with methylprednisolone in active rheumatic fever. Arq Bras Med.
  • González-Ramallo, V. J., & García Castaño, J. (1994). Shock anafiláctico. In Protocolos de Medicina de Urgencia.
  • Flores Rivera, C., Risco Solanilla, J. C., & Cordero Torres, J. A. (2016). Cómo diagnosticar y tratar un shock anafiláctico. FMC Formacion Medica Continuada En Atencion Primaria.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.