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​Methylprednisolone (Generic Name)

UPMC Content 2

About This Drug

Methylprednisolone is a steroid that may be used to treat cancer.  This can be given by mouth or in the vein (IV). 

Possible Side Effects (More Common)

  • High number of white blood cells
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • High blood sugars.  Your blood glucose will be checked as needed.
  • Electrolyte changes.  Your blood will be checked for electrolyte changes as needed.
  • Higher risk for infections such as herpes zoster, fungal infections, and delayed wound healing.
  • High blood pressure.  Your doctor will check your blood pressure as needed.
  • Mood changes, such as feeling nervous (anxiety), or other mood changes
  • Muscle weakness
  • Trouble sleeping

Possible Side Effects (Less Common)

  • Blurred vision or other changes in eyesight
  • Skin reactions such as rash, acne, facial redness, reddish-purple lines on skin or shiny skin
  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Leg cramps
  • Weak bones
  • More growth of facial hair

Treating Side Effects

  • If you get a rash do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor for medicine if your rash bothers you.
  • Talk with your doctor or nurse if you feel you need help with your mood changes.
  • Do not take this medicine close to bedtime; it may cause trouble sleeping.
  • Take this medicine with food to decrease the risk of upset stomach.

Food and Drug Interactions

There are no known interactions of methylprednisolone with food. This drug may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) that you are taking at this time. The safety and use of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often not known. Using these might affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor's help.

Important Information

  • Take this medicine with food.
  • If instructed by your doctor, check blood sugar levels while taking this medicine and report them to your doctor if they are high.
  • If instructed by your doctor, check your temperature while taking this medicine and report a fever (100.5 F or 38C) to your doctor.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or higher
  • Chills
  • Rash or itching
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way (palpitations)
  • Blurred vision or other changes in eyesight
  • Confusion or agitation
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking
  • Throwing up more than 3 times a day
  • Chest pain or symptoms of a heart attack. Most heart attacks involve pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes. The pain may go away and come back. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. Sometimes pain is felt in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach. If any of these symptoms last 2 minutes, call 911.

Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if any of these symptoms happen:

  • Change in hearing, ringing in the ears
  • Unusual thirst or passing urine often
  • Nausea that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Swelling of legs, ankles, or feet
  • Weight gain of 5 pounds in one week (fluid retention)
  • Headache that does not go away

Reproduction Concerns

  • Pregnancy warning: It is not known if this drug may harm an unborn child.  For this reason, be sure to talk with your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while getting this drug.
  • Breast feeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk.  For this reason, women should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of breast feeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and badly harm a breast feeding baby. 

New: November 2014