When having a multiple sclerosis exacerbation or flare up, most people tend to have problems with balance, strength, vision among other issues. Most neurologists recommend a high dose of corticosteroids to help alleviate these matters. Typically people start with a three to five day course of intravenous steroids, like Solu-Medrol, to help reduce the inflammation in the body. Although there is no long term effect on MS, the steroids do help stop the relapse rather quickly. Just like any medication you take, there are side effects.
What are the side effects?
The side effects of Solu-Medrol affect every person differently. There are the typical side effects of many drugs; headaches, dizziness, depression, increased sweating to name a few. There are more serious ones including swelling of feet, ankles and lower legs, muscle pain, or puffy skin. For more serious side effects, you should always contact your doctor immediately.
After intravenous steroids, many specialists will recommend the use of oral steroids taken over a taper format, usually ten days but can be as long as six weeks. This means you start with a dose of steroids and over the given period of time, gradually take smaller and smaller doses until the time period is up. The oral steroid most used in MS patients is Prednisone, also a corticosteroid taken orally. Prednisone is also used to reduce inflammation in the central nervous system.
What about side effects?
Like intravenous steroids, oral steroids have the typical side effects, similar to those listed above but can also include; acne, increased hair growth, heartburn, extreme tiredness and more. There are also more serious side effects like; confusion, vomiting, seizures, difficulty breathing or swallowing and more. If you experience any severe side effects, be sure to contact your doctor promptly.
For me personally, I had minimal side effects. During the hour timeframe of receiving my dose of medication, I experienced some metallic tastes in my mouth, and a little bit of fatigue in the arm my IV was in. I asked some of my fellow Modern Day MSers what their experiences were like; some experienced insomnia, while others felt extreme exhaustion and wanted to sleep all day. Some didn’t notice any real side effects while others had crazy mood swings.
Have you ever taken Solu-Medrol or Prednisone? What were your experiences like?
Vanessa is a 28 year old living in Massachusetts with her husband and 7 year old Puggle, named Rocky. She currently works in an elementary school and as a fitness instructor and health/fitness coach. She was diagnosed in April of 2014 with relapse-remitting MS and is currently taking Tecfidera. She enjoys being outdoors, spending time with her family and friends, reading, and traveling.