Methylprednisolone vs prednisone
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
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Both drugs are corticosteroids with essentially the same effects and side effects.
Methylprednisolone is Medrol. It is available as an oral tablet. Methylprednisolone is also available as a parenteral preparation meaning it can be used intramuscularly or, more commonly intravenously. Prednisone is given orally.
In terms of equivalence, prednisolone 4 mgs= prednisone 5 mgs.
Basically, there are no significant differences in effects and side-effects.
In a paper published in the Cleveland Clinic Quarterly May 2002, Dr. Charles Emerman outlined the evidence and found there was no true benefit of intravenous methylprednisolone over oral prednisone in the treatment of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
In another paper, evaluating the differences between the two drugs in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, there were no significant differences
[Effects Of Oral And IntraVenous MethylPrednisolone Treatment On Subsequent Multiple Sclerosis Relapse Rate
Sharrack B, Hughes RA, Morris RW, Soudain S, Wade-Jones O, Barnes D, Brown P, Britton T, Francis DA, Perkin GD, Rudge P, Swash M, Katifi HA, Farmer S, Frankel JP.J Neurol Sci 2000 Feb 1;173(1):73-7]
Nonetheless, in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis flare, an intravenous pulse of methylprednisolone (1,000 mgs) can provide significant relief and buy time until disease-modifying drugs can kick in.
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