What side effects are possible with this medication?
A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses and cannot be anticipated. It can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent, but does not occur in everyone. The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. If you develop any of these side effects (or any other side effects not listed here) or they change in intensity, speak to your doctor or pharmacist for advice on managing them and on the risks and benefits of the medication.
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- flushing of face or cheeks
- increased appetite
- increased sweating
- indigestion or upset stomach
to learn about serious side effects that can potentially occur with any medication. These examples are provided for information purposes only and are not meant to be exhaustive. Always consult your doctor for sound medical advice specific to your particular medication and treatment.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone at 1-800-332-1088.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
The FDA has issued new information concerning the use of methylprednisolone injection. To read the full FDA Advisory, visit the FDA's web site at www.fda.gov.
Blood pressure: Average and large doses of this medication can cause increases in blood pressure. You should have your blood pressure monitored while taking this medication. Your doctor may suggest diet changes or other measures to keep your blood pressure under control.
Diabetes: This medication may make blood sugar levels difficult to control for people with diabetes. If you have diabetes, you may need to monitor your blood sugar more closely while taking this medication.
Eyes: If you have herpes simplex of the eye you should be closely monitored by your doctor while taking this medication. Long-term use of corticosteroids may cause cataracts, glaucoma, damage to the optic nerves, or eye infections due to bacteria, fungi, or viruses.
Fluid and electrolyte balance:Average and large doses of corticosteroids can cause increases in blood pressure, salt and water retention, and loss of potassium. Your doctor may recommend a salt-restricted diet or potassium supplements.
Infections: Corticosteroids may mask some signs of infection, lower your ability to fight infections, and new infections may appear during their use. If you develop a fever or other signs of infection, call your doctor immediately. Corticosteroids
may worsen internal fungal infections and therefore should not be used in the presence of such infections.
Long-term use: Using this medication for a long period of time may lead to side effects such as:
- changes in vision
- eye infections
- filling or rounding out of the face
- menstrual problems
- muscle cramps or pain
- rapid weight gain
- reddish-purple lines on the arms, face, groin, legs, or trunk
- redness of the eyes
- sensitivity of the eyes to light
- stunting of growth (in children)
- swelling of the feet or lower legs
- thin, shiny skin
- trouble sleeping
- unusual bruising
- unusual increase in hair growth
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- wounds that will not heal
See your doctor if you develop any of these side effects.
Male fertility: The use of this medication may affect fertility by increasing or decreasing the number and quality of sperm produced.
Medical conditions: Your doctor will need to monitor your condition closely while you are taking this medication if you have any of the following conditions:
- cirrhosis of the liver
- eye infections with herpes simplex
- glaucoma and cataracts
- heart conditions (e.g., recent heart attack, heart failure)
- high blood pressure
- kidney disease
- myasthenia gravis (muscle disorder)
- psychiatric disorders
- stomach ulcer
- thyroid disease
- ulcerative colitis
Osteoporosis: Long-term use of corticosteroids such as methylprednisolone may result in bones losing thickness, causing them to be at increased risk for fracture. If you take corticosteroid medication on a continuous basis, speak to your doctor about your particular risk for osteoporosis.
Psychiatric problems: Psychiatric problems may appear when a person is taking this medication (such as elevated mood, insomnia, mood swings, personality changes, and severe depression). Also, existing emotional instability or psychotic tendencies may be aggravated by this medication. If you experience any new or worsening symptoms, call your doctor immediately.
Skin tests: Corticosteroids may cause false results in skin tests (e.g., tuberculosis test). They may also reactivate latent tuberculosis.
Stopping the medication: When stopping this medication after having used it for a long time, reduce the dose slowly as prescribed by your doctor. Stopping the medication too quickly could lead to withdrawal symptoms including fever, muscle and joint pain, and a general feeling of being unwell.
Stress: If you are taking a corticosteroid such as methylprednisolone and are experiencing any unusual stress, speak to your doctor. The doctor may recommend adjusting the dosage before, during, and after the stressful situation.
Vaccines: People taking large doses of this medication must not be given live vaccines, including smallpox. Ask your doctor before receiving any vaccines.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk and could slow growth, interfere with the baby's own steroid production, or cause other unwanted effects for the breast-feeding infant. Women taking this medication should not breast-feed.
Children: The growth and development of infants and children having long-term treatment with this medication should be carefully monitored. The injectable form of this medication should not be given to children.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between methylprednisolone and any of the following:
- amphotericin B
- anticholinesterases (e.g., edrophonium, neostigmine, pyridostigmine)
- antidiabetic medications (e.g., glyburide, insulin)
- barbiturates (e.g., phenobarbital, primidone)
- certain diuretics (e.g., hydrochlorothiazide)
- digitalis glycosides
- estrogens (including birth control pills)
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs; e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen)
- salicylates (e.g., aspirin, salsalate)
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you
take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.