Home Drugs & Medication Methylprednisolone vs Prednisolone – Differences, Similarities, And Which Is Better? Find Out

Methylprednisolone vs Prednisolone – Differences, Similarities, And Which Is Better? Find Out

by Dr. Joe Morales

There is always a confusion regarding Methylprednisolone vs Prednisolone drugs as both come under a class of drugs known as corticosteroids.
If you are familiar with both the drugs methylprednisolone and prednisone, you might have heard of Rheumatoid arthritis. It is a condition affecting different body parts. It generates pain within the body and limits movement. When left untreated, it may get worse.
Knowing the differences between methylprednisolone vs prednisone and some similarities between the drugs can help you carry out an informed conversation with the healthcare experts and determine the accurate treatment for conditions.

Methylprednisolone vs Prednisolone

Methylprednisolone vs prednisone- All You Need To Know

Methylprednisolone and prednisone both come under the category of synthetic glucocorticoids implemented in numerous disorders. These drugs are highly similar to hormones produced by the adrenal gland in our body. When they are prescribed in higher doses than the dose produced in our body, they start working in different body pathways to suppress certain immune and inflammatory markers such as histamines, kinins, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins.

The mechanism of their action allows both the drugs to be helpful in the treatment of autoimmune disorders, respiratory disorders, and inflammatory disorders, to name some. While both the medications are used to treat similar disorders, few differences between methylprednisolone and prednisone are worth mentioning.

Methylprednisolone vs prednisone- differences

There are numerous differences to note between methylprednisolone and prednisone. Methylprednisolone is a prescription medicine utilized in numerous diers, including allergic reactions, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. It is a derivative of Prednisolone, and the mechanism of action used by this medication makes it useful in a wide range of immune and inflammatory disorders.

Methylprednisolone passes through the cellular membrane and binds to certain receptors, which further inhibits protein synthesis, thus stopping the production of cytokines.

Cytokines play the main role in inflammatory processes. By a similar mechanism, it also helps stop the infiltration of immune response markers such as leukotrienes. This makes methylprednisolone effective as an immunosuppressive agent as well as an anti-inflammatory agent.

You will find methylprednisolone in various ranges such as 4mg, 8 mg, 16 mg, or 32 mg. You can also get it in the form of solutions to be taken through intramuscular or intravenous injection. Methylprednisolone has a brand name called Medrol, and it can be used by adults, children, and infants.

On the other hand, prednisone is also a prescription mediation used in numerous immune and inflammatory disorders. It is a cortisone derivative and metabolized by the liver to convert it into prednisone, its active form. In this form, it can cross the cell membrane. Once it performs this task, it works similar to methylprednisone and inhibits infiltration of immune and inflammatory response markers.

The brand name for prednisone is Deltasone. You will find this mediation in 2.4 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 50 mg to be used orally. However, oral solutions are also available for infants. One difference between methylprednisolone and prednisone is that Medrol is present in the solution to be injected while Deltasone is not.

Also, the dosage for methylprednisolone ranges from 4mg to 48 mg, whereas in the case of prednisone, it is between 5 mg to 60 mg.

Methylprednisolone vs prednisone- Conditions Treated

Methylprednisolone is used for treating a wide variety of diseases and disorders mentioned earlier. Its mechanism and effects on inflammatory processes make it highly beneficial for rheumatoid disorders such as bursitis, spondylitis, psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis. It is also implemented in the treatment of bronchial asthma, given that the flares are acute.

Methylprednisolone has immunosuppressive properties, making it highly effective in treating allergic conditions like contact dermatitis, acute allergic rhinitis, and sensitivity reactions to certain drugs. It is also taken into consideration for endocrine, ophthalmic, gastrointestinal, collagen, and hematologic disorders.

Prednisone is also sued to treat different autoimmune and anti-inflammatory diseases similar to that of methylprednisolone. These diseases include rheumatic, collagen, ophthalmic, gastrointestinal, hematologic, allergic, and respiratory disorders.

Some other conditions for which methylprednisolone and prednisone both may be used are:

  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Nonsuppurative thyroiditis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Synovitis of osteoarthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Severe seborrheic dermatitis
  • Severe psoriasis
  • Optic neuritis
  • Symptomatic sarcoidosis
  • Aspiration pneumonitis
  • Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Acute exacerbations of Multiple Sclerosis

Methylprednisolone vs prednisone- Cost and coverage

Methylprednisolone, as already stated, is a prescription medicine that is covered typically by both insurance and commercial plants along with mediocre. A 6-day course containing 21 tablets will cost as must as 100 dollars based on the brand name. You can also use coupons provided by certain websites or manufacturers and get them as low as 50 dollars.

Predisone, on the other hand, is covered typically by medicare as well as insurance plans. The retail price for prednisone, on average, is 22 dollars only for 10 tablets having a 22 mg dose. Similar to methylprednisolone, you can get it as low as 5 to 10 dollars with coupons.

Also, it is crucial to note that for particular diseases, corticosteroids might not be covered under drug benefit by medicare, but they might be covered under part B of medicare. You can know more about coverage policy by the pharmacist.

Methylprednisolone vs prednisone- Common side effects

Prednisone is first metabolized to its active form by the liver to pass through the cellular membrane. Both the drugs methylprednisone, as well as prednisone are very similar in their chemical composition. Due to this similarity, the side effects of methylprednisone vs prednisone will also be quite similar.

All the glucocorticoids are known to generate an electrolyte and fluid imbalance. This imbalance further leads to fluid and sodium retention in the body, high blood pressure, and in severe cases, it may also cause cognitive heart failure.

Methylprednisolone and prednisone might also cause the weakness of muscles or loss of muscle mass. Glucocorticoids are also known to be disrupting the gastrointestinal system of your body and might cause problems like vomiting, nausea, or abdominal bloating. Steroids can slow down the healing of injuries within our bodies.

Extensive and long-term use of methylprednisolone vs prednisone might slow the growth in children. For such reason alone, their use must be limited to as low as possible to obtain remission of all the symptoms.

Methylprednisolone vs prednisone- Drug interaction

Both prednisone and methylprednisolone are substrates of hemoprotein cytochrome P450 enzyme 3A4. This enzyme is responsible for the metabolization of different drugs in your liver. This is the reason why you should know about drug interaction as there are chances of it.

Corticosteroids are normally implemented in patients who are also using other immunosuppressant agents. Managing or controlling the response of our body during autoimmune disorders and organ transplantation requires multiple immunosuppressive agents. This is the reason one agent might influence the metabolization of another agent. But, when used together in perfect dose and monitoring, drug interaction can be avoided.

For example, cyclosporine and tacrolimus are both inhibitors of CYP 3A4. This might result in a serum concentration of prednisone or methylprednisolone when given together. There are reports stating incidences of convulsions with concurrent usage of methylprednisolone and cyclosporine, although rare.

Loop diuretics can assist in managing the fluid status in the body by filtration of potassium. When used with prednisone or methylprednisolone, there is a potential for the human body to lose potassium in a large amount. This can have negative effects on our body’s cardiac function. Patients who are given these drugs together should also make sure their electrolyte status is monitored.

Methylprednisolone vs Prednisolone – Warnings

Corticosteroids might conceal some symptoms of infection and might slow the identification of new infections. Long-term usage of methylprednisolone or prednisone may result in problems such as glaucoma and cataracts.

There are no well-managed studies to show the effects of corticosteroids in pregnant ladies; therefore, the use of any of these drugs while pregnant or expecting must only be implemented when it is apparent that the advantage of drugs will outweigh the benefits over the risks. Babies born to mothers who frequently used corticosteroids while pregnant must be carefully examined for hypoadrenalism.

Corticosteroids, particularly when used in higher doses, will restrain the body’s capability to create antibodies when any vaccinations are administered. Vaccines might not be useful in patients taking steroids. Live vaccines, for instance, smallpox, should be avoided by patients going through corticosteroid therapy. Patients using immunosuppressive agents are at a higher risk of infection from active or live vaccines.

Methylprednisolone vs prednisone might change the results of skin analyses or another allergy examination. For the most precise outcomes, steroid therapy must be stopped days before conducting these tests.

Steroids must only be offered for as short as possible to obtain the desired results. If prolonged use of steroids is medically required, they should be maintained at the lowest useful dose.

Methylprednisolone vs Prednisolone – which is more useful?

When you compare methylprednisolone vs prednisone, there are numerous things t consider due to their wide array of uses. In most processes related to inflammatory diseases, treatment using corticosteroids is restricted to short-term usage in acute and severe aggravations of the diseases.

When comparing methylprednisolone vs prednisone directly, you must know that 4 mg of methylprednisolone is equal to 5 mg of prednisone. However, when you adjust and monitor the doses for their response, each one effectively treats the diseases.

One study was used to compare methylprednisolone vs prednisone effects intravenously and orally. Methylprednisolone was used as intravenous injection, whereas prednisone was given orally to treat asthma in children. Two treatment groups were made randomly to find out the differences in their effects on exacerbation of the disease.

One group was given 30 mg methylprednisolone through intravenous injection, and the other was given 30 mg prednisone orally. Both the groups were known to receive albuterol. The researchers noted down relief from the symptoms, pulse oximetry readings, and peak expiratory flow. Readings were noted for each group at different hours of 2 intervals after starting the treatment.

There were no statistically or clinically significant differences between the groups when noted at each interval separately. Researchers thus concluded that oral prednisone would be a superior option, especially for kids, due to their less traumatic mode of administration and lower cost.

Also, you might be confused on which one among methylprednisolone vs prednisone acts faster within the body. Methylprednisolone usually has a rapid onset. It reaches the peak effects within an hour or two after receiving one dose intravenously.

Into the liver, methylprednisolone is metabolized into inactive metabolized, which are further excreted through urination. Also, the half-life of Medrol is nearly 18 to 36 hours which indicates that it might need 2 to 7 days to get eliminated from your body.

The Bottom Line

Methylprednisolone and prednisone fall under the corticosteroids that may have a vital impact on your body. They are powerful medications for decreasing inflammation or swelling.

Both these medications may have a wide range of side effects and complexities. It is noted that methylprednisolone is more potent among methylprednisolone vs prednisone.

Doctors may prescribe methylprednisolone orally or inject it through injections, while the prednisone drug is entirely available as an oral medication. Methylprednisolone may, therefore, be more suited for people having troubles like digestive issues that prevent them from fully absorbing such oral drugs.

The doctor will determine which medicine or drug is most suitable in each situation. Anyone taking the drugs must ensure that their doctor is informed of all the previous health conditions and current medications when discussing taking corticosteroids.



  1. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601102.html
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682795.html
  3. Single care 
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methylprednisolone
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prednisone

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