Medrol Dose Pack Can Help Tame an Arthritis Flare

Medrol dose pack must be taken according to specific instructions

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

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.

Silver blister packs of pills
art-4-art / Getty Images  


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. 


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.

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


Medrol is available as 2-, 4-, 8-, 16-, 24-, and 32-milligram (mg) tablets. Medrol is also available as an injectable solution: 20, 40, and 80 milligrams/milliliter (mg/ml).

While Medrol can be prescribed at various daily doses or as alternate day therapy, the typical Medrol dose pack is marketed as 4-mg tablets given over six days in decreasing dosages.

Example directions for the Medrol dose pack are:

Medrol Tablets to Take
  Before Breakfast After Lunch After Dinner Before Bedtime
Day 1 2 1 1 2
Day 2 1 1 1 2
Day 3 1 1 1 1
Day 4 1 1 None 1
Day 5 1 None None 1
Day 6 1 None None None

You should take the Medrol dose pack exactly as prescribed. The directions must be followed precisely.

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.

Warnings and Interactions

You should not stop taking the drug suddenly on your own. Call your healthcare provider if you have side effects or problems which make you want to stop the drug before the six-day course is finished.

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

  • Arthritis medications, such as NSAIDs
  • Aspirin
  • Azithromycin, clarithromycin, erythromycin
  • Blood thinners, such as Coumadin (warfarin)
  • Dilantin (phenytoin)
  • Diuretics (water pills)
  • Lanoxin (digoxin)
  • Neoral, Sandimmune (cyclosporine)
  • Nizoral (ketoconazole)
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Phenobarbital
  • Premarin (estrogen)
  • Rifadin (rifampin)
  • Theo-Dur (theophylline)

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 healthcare providers 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Medrol Dosepak?

    Medrol Dosepak is one way methylprednisolone (a corticosteroid) is prescribed. The blister pack contains 21 individual 4 mg Medrol tablets. Your healthcare provider will tell you exactly how often to take this medication. It is commonly prescribed to be taken up to four times a day, starting with higher doses and tapering to a lower dose before stopping.

  • What is a Medrol Dosepak prescribed for?

    Medrol is a corticosteroid used to suppress inflammation in many different conditions. Medrol is prescribed to treat severe allergies, asthma, certain types of arthritis, rheumatological diseases, skin conditions, kidney problems, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and more.

  • What are the side effects of Medrol?

    Medrol can cause mood changes, such as increased irritability, anxiety, depression, and anger. Other side effects include dizziness, dry mouth, headache, indigestion, muscle aches or cramps, changes in heart rate, bloating, and upset stomach. 

Was this page helpful?
2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Medrol® methylprednisolone tablets, USP. Updated September 2019.

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

Additional Reading