Medrol Dose Pack Can Help Tame an Arthritis Flare

Medrol dose pack must be taken according to specific instructions

Dose pack of Medrol

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Medrol (methylprednisolone) dose pack (also spelled dosepak) is a corticosteroid used to treat and control inflammation associated with arthritis and other conditions. Medrol is marketed by Pharmacia and Upjohn.

Indications for Medrol Dose Pack

Medrol is used to quickly suppress inflammation. It is commonly prescribed to bring an arthritis flare under control which is associated with active inflammation. It is used to treat:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Acute gouty arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis

Medrol is also used to treat severe allergic reactions and chronic skin conditions.

While some people with inflammatory types of arthritis or other rheumatic diseases may be prescribed Medrol as part of their daily treatment regimen, the Medrol dose pack is a burst of the medication taken according to a specific schedule over six days. 

How to Take It

Medrol is available as 2-, 4-, 8-, 16-, 24-, and 32-milligram tablets. Medrol is also available as an injectable solution: 20, 40, and 80 milligrams/milliliter. While Medrol can be prescribed at various daily doses or as alternate day therapy, the typical Medrol dose pack is marketed as 4-milligram tablets given over six days in decreasing dosages. Directions for the Medrol dose pack are:

Medrol Dose Directions
  Before Breakfast After Lunch After Dinner Before Bedtime
Day 1 2 tablets 1 tablet 1 tablet 2 tablets
Day 2 1 tablet 1 tablet 1 tablet 2 tablets
Day 3 1 tablet 1 tablet 1 tablet 1 tablet
Day 4 1 tablet 1 tablet No tablets 1 tablet
Day 5 1 tablet No tablets No tablets 1 tablet
Day 6 1 tablet No tablets No tablets No tablets


People who have a known allergy to the components of Medrol should not take the medication. There are many situations in which Medrol should be used with caution, including active or chronic infection, diabetes mellitus, congestive heart failure, or psychiatric illness.

Side Effects

Side effects associated with Medrol are largely dependent on the dose and how often it is taken. Short courses of Medrol, as is the case with the Medrol dose pack, are usually well-tolerated with no or few mild side effects. Long-term or high-dose Medrol is more problematic.

Special Warnings and Precautions

You should take the Medrol dose pack exactly as prescribed. The directions must be followed precisely. You should not stop taking the drug suddenly on your own. Call your doctor if you have side effects or problems which make you want to stop the drug before the six-day course is finished.

Drug Interactions

Be sure to tell your doctor about all other medications and supplements which you routinely take. The following drugs may interact with Medrol. Note: This is not a complete list.

  • Blood thinners, such as Coumadin (warfarin)
  • Arthritis medications, such as NSAIDs
  • Aspirin
  • Azithromycin, clarithromycin, erythromycin
  • Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune)
  • Digoxin (Lanoxin)
  • Diuretics (water pills)
  • Estrogen (Premarin)
  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Rifampin (Rifadin)
  • Theophylline (Theo-Dur)

Instructions for Pregnant Women

Medrol has not been adequately evaluated in pregnant women. Let your doctor know if you are planning to become pregnant or if you do become pregnant while taking Medrol.

A Word From Verywell

The Medrol dose pack can seem like a lifesaver to someone in the midst of an arthritis flare. When nothing else seems to tame the increased intensity of arthritis symptoms, Medrol can be very effective. Some doctors allow their patients to keep a dose pack on hand for those times when an unpredictable flare occurs. That said, be sure what you have on hand doesn't expire and replace it if it does. And, never fail to follow the directions for its use precisely.

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  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Medrol® methylprednisolone tablets, USP. Updated September 2019.

  2. MedlinePlus. Methylprednisolone. Updated February 18, 2020.

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