Methylprednisolone vs Prednisone

The main function of these drugs are the same. That’s because they’re both a type of drug known as “corticosteroids.”

A close-up of bruised skin

If your medical condition causes inflammation then your doctor might prescribe something called Corticosteroids. This is a type of steroid hormone that’s produced naturally in people due to backbones.  You have many options among these anti-inflammatory drugs like methylprednisolone vs prednisone.

These two prescription drugs are often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In fact, they’re quite similar in terms of the drugs’ functions. When treating RA the meds can help to reduce the immune system’s responses that can result in various symptoms like pain, swelling, and joint damage. Besides the function of these two drugs they’re both available at drugstores and their prices are approximately the same.

So, you might be wondering if there are any big difference. There are some small differences between the two drugs. For example, methylprednisolone is slightly stronger than prednisone and is available in an injectable form that must be injected by a medical professional like a doctor or nurse.  Another difference between these prescription meds is one is a little more expensive than other. So, if you’re on a shoestring budget this might be an issue for you. Overall these two drugs only have small differences. However, that makes it even more important to know them so you can choose wisely when picking an anti-inflammatory drug.

What Are Methylprednisolone and Prednisone?

Before we talk about methylprednisolone vs prednisone let’s talk about the class of drugs they’re both in: corticosteroids. What are they all about? These steroid hormones are manufactured by a particular gland-producing body part.

You can also get these hormones through pharmaceutical drugs including the following:

Methylprednisolone

This prescription drug is known by various brand names like Medrol. The drug helps to prevent certain inflammation-causing substances from being released. This helps to prevent various symptoms like swelling.

This particular drug is used to treat various kinds of inflammatory conditions including allergy problems, arthritis, and lupus. These conditions can affect various body parts like the eyes, stomach, lungs, and nervous system.

You might experience possible side-effects when taking this med. They include:

  1. Bruising/thinning skin
  2. Personality changes
  3. Seizures
  4. Blurred vision
  5. Pain in arm/leg/back
  6. Serious depression
  7. Low potassium
  8. Shortness of breath

If your child is taking methylprednisolone then observe if they’re not growing at a normal rate. This drug can affect how fast kids grow.

Prednisone

This is a similar anti-inflammatory drug that you might be prescribed for various conditions like RA, blood disorders, breathing problems, etc.

The medicine is taken by mouth with milk or food based on doctor’s orders. The tablet form is taken with a glass of water.

As always, it’s important to follow your doctor’s orders about factors like dosage. You should also keep taking this med unless your physician tells you to stop. It’s important to keep taking the drug even if you start feeling better.

Here are some possible side-effects you might experience when taking prednisone:

  1. Heartburn
  2. Acne
  3. Problems sleeping
  4. Extra sweating
  5. Loss of appetite

If you start to experience any of these symptoms it’s important to contact your doctor immediately. This is a prescribed med that your doctor believes might benefit you even though there are possible side-effects. There’s more! It’s rare for people who take this drug to have major side-effects.

Methylprednisolone vs Prednisone

Here are some of the most important factors to consider in terms of similarities/differences between the two meds:

Function

The main function of these drugs are the same. That’s because they’re both a type of drug known as “corticosteroids.” They help to reduce inflammation among patients who have conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. This, in turn, can help to reduce issues like pain and swelling.

Names

Both methylprednisolone and prednisone are available in brand name and generic versions. The names are different but they’re still the same basic drug whether they’re branded or no-name versions of the prescription meds.

Strengths

The strengths of the two drugs are quite similar. One difference is the potencies of each medication. methylprednisolone is about 20% stronger than prednisone.

In other words, 8mg of methylprednisolone has the strength of 10mg of prednisone. This could affect which type and dosage your doctor prescribes. If you need a stronger anti-inflammatory drug then he might prescribe prednisone. Meanwhile, if your symptoms are less severe you might get a prescription for methylprednisolone.

Forms

Both of the meds are available in oral tablet forms. Prednisone is also available in an oral solution.

A major difference between the two meds is methylprednisolone is also available in an injectable version. It’s important to note that a medical professional must provide the injection. You cannot provide it yourself at home, for example.

Availability/Cost

Both of these drugs are available at most pharmacies. That includes brick & mortar and online types. The price tags for both are approximately the same. However, prednisone is less expensive. This is expected since the strength is a little lower as well.

You can use various websites to search for the current prices for both of these meds. It’s important to know these prices to avoid over-paying for them.

Generic

Both of these drugs are available in money-saving generic versions.

Drug Interactions and Other Conditions

Interactions

These are both important factors to weigh when taking either of these drugs. Both of these medications can cause interactions with other prescription meds. This happens when a particular substance alters how a certain drug works. For example, it can cause health problems or prevent either of the meds from working as well as they should.

Before you start taking either of these medications it’s important to inform your doctor of any over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription meds you’re taking. You should even inform him/her of any dietary supplements you’re taking including herbs and vitamins.

Your physician can then determine whether methylprednisolone or prednisone would cause any interactions between medicines/supplements you’re taking now. In fact, you might be surprised that these drugs can even interact with the OTC painkiller aspirin. That’s right!

Conditions

If you have other medical conditions you should inform your physician. These include:

  1. Diabetes
  2. Herpes (of the eye)
  3. Overactive thyroid
  4. Seizures
  5. Ulcers
  6. Kidney issues
  7. Head injuries

These conditions could cause problems when taking either methylprednisolone or prednisone. So, it’s important to inform your doctor if you suffer from any of these conditions.

This should be part of the general approach of talking to your doctor before you’re prescribed either of these drugs. It’s important to make sure they don’t interfere with other drugs/supplements you’re taking.

There are various other factors to talk about. They include whether you should take a branded/generic version, which form of the drug is best for you, and how much/often you should take the drugs.

Your physician can help to sort things out for you. These are powerful drugs but can provide big benefits for people who require an anti-inflammatory drug.  An important issue to consider with your doctor is methylprednisolone vs prednisone.

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