Methylprednisolone (molecular weight 374.48) is a synthetic glucocorticoid drug which is usually taken orally. It's chemical name is pregna-1,4-diene-3,20 -dione, 11,17,21-trihydroxy-6-methyl-,(6α, 11β)- and its chemical formula is C22H30O5. more...
Like most adrenocortical steroids, methylprednisolone is typically used for its anti-inflammatory purposes. However, glucocorticoids have a wide range of effects, including changes to metabolism and immune responses. The list of medical conditions for which methlyprednisolone is rather large, and is similar to other corticosteroids such as prednisolone. Common uses includes arthritis therapy, and short-term treatment of bronchial inflammation due to various respiratory diseases.
Methylprednisolone has serious side effects if taken long-term, including weight gain, glaucoma, and osteoporosis. The most serious side effect occurs after the kidneys cease natural production of cortisone, which methlyprednisolone will replace. Abrupt cessation of the drug after this occurs can result in a condition known as Addisonian crisis, which can be fatal. To prevent this, the drug is usually prescribed with a tapering dosage, including a pre-dosed "dose pack" detailing a specific number of pills to take as designated times over a six day period.
Alternative treatments to many of the conditions currently indicated for methlyprednisolone are actively being researched. Additionally, new drugs such as budesonide are being created, which provide similar benefits but without the adrenal suppression problems.
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