What is methylprednisolone treatment?

Methylprednisolone is a steroid drug used to treat or reduce inflammation of your optic disc, which is at the back of your eye. Methylprednisolone is usually used to treat patients with optic neuritis and giant cell arteritis.

What happens during methylprednisolone treatment?

Your treatment may be every day for three days or once a week for several weeks.

  • Methylprednisolone is mixed with sterile fluid and given by an intravenous (IV), which means directly into your vein, using a plastic needle called a cannula.
  • You will be admitted to Ward 8. Treatment is usually as a day patient and your visit should take 1–2 hours.
  • A medical history and blood samples will be taken on each admission. An IV cannula will be inserted. Tell the nurse if the intravenous cannula becomes uncomfortable or sore.
  • If your treatment is three days you will go home with the IV in place. This is bandaged after each visit and removed after your last infusion.
    • If your treatment is once a week you will have a new IV each time.
    • Once the infusion of methylprednisolone starts, a nurse checks you every 30 minutes including your blood sugar level at the start and end.
  • Occasionally medication is administered for reflux, a condition which can irritate the lining of the stomach, causing acid in the stomach to rise up into the oesophagus.
  • During the infusion we recommended you eat and drink to help prevent reflux. The hospital will provide food and drinks for you. You should also reduce your intake of acidic foods and drinks.
  • During the infusion you may experience a metallic taste, this is normal.
  • Either during or after your treatment period, you may have a Magnetic Resonating Imaging (MRI) scan, which is usually at St Vincent’s Hospital. Your nurse may be able to organise an appointment for you, or St Vincent’s will call you directly.
  • On the last day of your treatment:
    • A follow up appointment will be booked
    • You may be given a script for oral prednisolone tablets. This is another steroid drug which will continue to reduce the inflammation around your optic nerve.

What can I do during my methylprednisolone treatment?

  • A carer should take you to and from the hospital in a car. Using public transport is not advised.
  • We recommend a carer stays with you overnight throughout the duration of the treatment.
  • Ask your doctor if you are able to work during your treatment.

What are the side effects?

The side effects of steroid drugs become more common with high dosage or long term use. Please tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • continuous stomach pain
  • swollen ankles
  • irregular heartbeat
  • changes in vision
  • changes in mood
  • difficulty sleeping
  • dizziness or fainting
  • skin colour changes.

What precautions should I take?

  • Do not drive or operate heavy machinery as methylprednisolone may cause dizziness, light-headedness, tiredness or drowsiness in some people.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Please inform your doctor if you are currently breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Methylprednisolone is not recommended while you are breastfeeding.
  • Tell your GP you are having methylprednisolone before you have vaccinations or immunisations.
  • If you are required to have any laboratory tests (for example blood or urine tests) tell the doctor you are having methylprednisolone.
  • Try to avoid infection by staying away from people with colds or flu. Methylprednisolone may increase the likelihood of an infection and can hide the symptoms of an infection.

If you have any concerns or questions, please speak to your nurse or doctor or call the Eye and Ear on (03) 9929 8666.


Disclaimer This document describes the generally accepted practice at the time of publication only. It is only a summary of clinical knowledge regarding this area. The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital makes no warranty, express or implied, that the information contained in this document is comprehensive. They accept no responsibility for any consequence arising from inappropriate application of this information.

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  • Methylprednisolone Treatment #44
  • Owner: Surgical Services
  • Last Reviewed: January 13, 2020
  • Next Review: January 13, 2023