Corticosteroids (methylprednisolone, prednisone)

Drug Class- Glucocorticoid/Immunosuppressive/Anti-inflammatory

Mechanism of Action

Drug works by decreasing the movement of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) to sites of cellular and tissue injury to decrease inflammation.

Diseases Treated With this Medication

Corticosteroids are used to treat a variety of inflammatory diseases. Kidney diseases treated with this medication include lupus nephritis, systemic vasculitis, and other forms of glomerulonephritis.

Contraindications

You should not take this medication if you are allergic to prednisone or methylprednisolone or have experienced serious systemic (eg. bloodstream) fungal infections.  

Common Side Effects

  • You should not take this medication if you are allergic to corticosteroids including prednisone or methylprednisolone or have experienced serious systemic (eg. bloodstream) fungal infections.  
  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • High blood sugar (Hyperglycemia)
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Weight gain
  • Nausea or vomiting    

Other Serious Side Effects

  • Cataracts
  • Decreased body growth in children-especially in high dose, long-term treatment regimens
  • Infection
  • Osteoporosis 

Drug Interactions

Drug NameInteraction
Cyclosporine
(Gengraf®, Neoral®, Sandimmune®)

Corticosteroid increases the risk of cyclosporine toxicities by increasing drug levels: kidney dysfunction, gall bladder disease, tingling sensations, high blood pressure, edema (swelling), fluid/electrolyte disturbances, and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).

Cyclosporine may increase the level of corticosteroids leading to increased toxicity of the corticosteroid.
Inactivated Vaccines Corticosteroids may decrease the effect of inactivated vaccines 
Live Vaccines

Corticosteroids may increase the risk of infection by live vaccine

Patient Instructions

  • Contact your physician immediately if you experience any of the following side effects: skin rash, swelling of legs or feet, weight gain, weakness, severe stomach pain, increased thirst or urination, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, confusion and depression.
  • Take this medication in the morning if you take it once daily
  • If this medication upsets your stomach, you may take it with food or milk. 
  • Do not discontinue this medication abruptly as serious adverse effects may be seen.