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With COVID-19 still an ongoing global concern, different medications have been clinically tested for use in treating it. As the new COVID treatment options take center stage, it is important to understand how they work and what to expect when using them.
One of the main effects of a severe COVID-19 infection is inflammation. Patients diagnosed with the virus are observed to have a massive inflammation that can lead to organ failure, inadvertently causing death.
Steroids, such as methylprednisolone, have been proven to curb inflammation and reduce fatalities in patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms.
What is Methylprednisolone?
Methylprednisolone is a corticosteroid, a steroid medication that is used as an anti-inflammatory drug. It helps to relieve adverse immune system reactions by reducing swelling, itching, redness, and severe allergic reactions.
Methylprednisolone is available in tablet and injectable form under the brand names Medrol, Medrol Dosepok, and DepoMedrol, among others.
As an anti-inflammatory drug, Medrol is used to treat conditions such as;
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Herpes infection
- Acute asthma
- Multiple sclerosis
- Neoplastic diseases such as lymphoma
- Endocrine diseases that cause hormone disorders
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Methylprednisolone acetate alleviates swelling and pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Is Methylprednisolonel Effective in Relieving COVID-19 Symptoms?
When coupled with other medications such as antiviral therapy, Medrol can help relieve COVID symptoms, especially in severe cases.
Medical tests carried out on the effectiveness of methylprednisolone in treating inflammation in COVID patients reveal reduced ICU admission rates and less dependence on mechanical ventilation.
Researchers agree that inflammation in COVID-19 patients is the main contributor to organ failure, which is among the key causes of fatalities. By reducing inflammation, methylprednisolone helps to lower the risk of dying.
Before using any new medication, you should consult your healthcare provider for in-depth medical advice that caters to your medical history and current needs before.
How to Take Methylprednisolone
Methylprednisolone is taken by mouth along with some food or milk. Follow the dosing schedule set by your doctor as it caters to your specific requirements.
Even if you feel better before your dose is up, do not stop taking it. This might cause withdrawal symptoms, especially if you were on high doses for long periods.
Some of the withdrawal symptoms include muscle disorder, dizziness, and nausea. Instead, your doctor may wean you off the drug by slowly lowering your dosage over time.
If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember, as long as it isn’t already time for your next dose. Alternatively, skip the missed dose and revert to your normal dose schedule and let your doctor know.
Medrol Drug Interactions
Drug interactions are factors that may affect the normal working of a drug or bring about effects on the body.
Methylprednisolone interacts with about 528 drugs. To be safe, let your doctor know beforehand if you are on other drugs for pre-existing medical conditions.
Some of the possible drug interactions include diabetes medication. Medrol interferes with blood glucose control. If you are on any diabetic medication, your doctor may adjust your doses and instruct you to monitor your blood glucose regularly.
Methylprednisolone also has certain food interactions, such as grapefruit juice and alcohol. It is advisable to lower your intake of grapefruit juice when on this medication.
Potential Side Effects of Taking Methylprednisolone
Once you start taking methylprednisolone, the body may take some time to adjust to it. The medication reacts differently depending on individual medical conditions.
Some of the common reactions to the drug include;
- Increased thirst
- Nausea and vomiting
- High blood pressure
- Rapid weight gain
- Subcutaneous atrophy
These symptoms occur as the immune system adjusts to the new chemical in the body. However, seek medical help if the symptoms persist.
Methylprednisolone affects the body’s ability to fight infections. You may experience slow wound healing and increased risks of infection.
Other acute side effects of methylprednisolone can be quite serious and may require emergency medical assistance. They include:
1. Mental Illness
This could be severe depression, anxiety, psychosis, and extreme excitement. You may also notice a personality change after taking the medication.
2. Severe Allergies
Medrol can trigger an allergic reaction in the body leading to redness, hives, and swelling of the tongue, face, or lips.
3. Hormonal Changes
Long-term methylprednisolone use can interfere with hormone production and function in the body. The resulting effects are a loss of appetite, muscle pain, body aches, and severe weight loss.
4. Intestinal Disorders
Methylprednisolone can cause stomach bleeding. If you have unusual pain in the abdomen, black stool, and vomit that looks like coffee grounds, seek emergency medical help.
5. Eye Problems
Methylprednisolone may cause decreased or blurred vision accompanied by eye pain. Some patients also report a noticeable bulge in the eyes.
High doses or prolonged use of corticosteroids can cause poisoning. Methylprednisolone poisoning can be fatal if untreated.
In case of an overdose, contact your local poison control center and medical emergency number for assistance.
The list above is not exhaustive, nor does it apply to every person taking methylprednisolone. Call your doctor if you experience new or unusual pain after taking your dosage.
Who Should Not Take Medrol?
The use of methylprednisolone can affect a child’s growth. Children on Medrol should be closely monitored to ensure the drug does not affect growth or height.
Pregnant women are advised not to use methylprednisolone unless absolutely necessary. The drug may affect the hormonal balance of the unborn baby.
The drug does not affect breast milk. However, new mothers should consult a healthcare professional if they are taking the drug when breastfeeding.
Older patients are more susceptible to serious illness when taking Medrol, especially if there are other conditions such as heart disease.
Methylprednisolone works well as an anti-inflammation. However, the drug comes in preset strengths and formulas, which may not work for everybody.
To get the maximum benefits of this drug for your unique needs, a compounding pharmacy can fill out your prescription with adjusted formulas.
At Fort Worth Pharmacy, we compound your corticosteroid prescription to offer you a product that matches your medical needs and individual strength requirements. We are always available for your questions online; give us a call on 817-361-9960 or visit our physical location 7833 Oakmont Blvd STE 120 Fort Worth, TX 76132