Solu-Medrol is a prescription medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reduce inflammation. It is also available as a generic under its drug name, Methylprednisolone. It is commonly prescribed for adults with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) during acute exacerbations. It can rapidly improve weakness, vision and mobility symptoms and shorten hospital stay. Solu-Medrol is not a cure for MS, but it can help decrease symptoms associated with inflammation during MS flare-ups.
Solu-Medrol may not be appropriate for people with certain types of infections including systemic fungal infections and some types of parasitic worms. Solu-Medrol should not be used by people with ocular herpes simplex. Solu-Medrol should be used with caution by pregnant and breastfeeding women and people with gastrointestinal problems including peptic ulcers, diverticulitis and ulcerative colitis. Solu-Medrol may worsen some heart conditions and some psychological complaints such as depression or anxiety.
Solu-Medrol is a corticosteroid, a type of hormone that suppresses immune system response. Solu-Medrol is believed to work by reducing the numbers of B cells and T cells (types of white blood cells) and inhibiting genes that control production of cytokines. B cells, T cells and cytokines are all immune system factors that contribute to the attack on the nervous system in acute exacerbations of relapsing MS.
How do I take it?
Solu-Medrol is usually administered intravenously in high doses periodically over four days. It may be given during hospitalization or on an outpatient basis.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Solu-Medrol.
The FDA approved Methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol) in October 1957. In the 1980s, several different studies proved that it produced rapid improvements in people suffering from acute relapses of MS when given intravenously.
People taking Solu-Medrol commonly experience several side effects that gradually go away as the body adjusts to the medication. These include upset stomach, restlessness, sleep disturbances, headache, sweatiness and new growth of hair on the face or body.
People taking Solu-Medrol or other corticosteroids are more susceptible to infection due to the immunosuppressive nature of the drug. Take extra precautions against infection such as frequent hand-washing. Avoid contact with anyone who is or has recently been sick, especially those who have been in contact with measles or chicken pox. Tell your doctor immediately if you develop signs of illness such as fever, sore throat or a cough. Do not obtain vaccinations with live or attenuated viruses while on Solu-Medrol, and avoid contact with people who have recently received the oral polio vaccine.
Like all corticosteroids, Solu-Medrol can cause psychological side effects such as mood swings, aggression, agitation or nervousness. Notify your doctor if these changes become intense or difficult to manage.
Corticosteroids such as Solu-Medrol may affect the blood sugar levels of diabetics. Report any changes in your blood or urine tests to your doctor.
Solu-Medrol and other corticosteroids can increase appetite and promote water retention. Be mindful of your calories, moderate your salt intake, and eat foods rich in potassium such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, fat-free yogurt and beans. Raw foods or those prepared by steaming or roasting preserve more potassium than foods that are boiled.
A prolonged course of Solu-Medrol can cause more serious symptoms. Notify your doctor immediately if you experience swelling in the face or lower extremities, rapid weight gain, acne or other skin problems, changes in hair, joint pain, pronounced increase in thirst, unexplained bruising, or changes in menstrual cycle. If you take corticosteroids for several weeks or months, your body may require several months before side effects subside and your body returns to normal.
Solu-Medrol can also cause allergic reactions. Get medical help immediately if you experience difficulty breathing or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips or tongue.