Another Option Available To Receive Solu-Medrol

Oral Solu-Medrol

ORAL SOLU-MEDROL (Methylprednisolone)

Having a relapse or an exacerbation from Multiple Sclerosis is just a given unfortunately, but some experience this more often than others. We all know that when we go through this, our physician will usually order us a round of steroids for the anti-inflammatory process. Depending on our doctor’s preference, most of us will receive the steroid Solu-Medrol in the form of an IV. This is usually given from a 3 to 5 day period of time, which can be an inconvenience to get out each day to go either to his office or to an infusion site in order to receive it. A few are lucky enough to have Home Health to come in and provide it for us. Some individuals though are given a Medrol Dose Pack,(this is a pack which has a pills which you start off taking several on the first day then gradually decrease the number on each following day), or a script for oral Prednisone in place of the Solu-Medrol.  Solu-Medrol can also be given in smaller doses in a form of an intramuscular shot. Whichever way you have received this medication, it usually helps pull us out of a relapse.

What I have learned this week is that there is another way Solu-Medrol can be given, and this is orally mixed in orange juice. Solu-Medrol is packaged in a powder form vial which can be received through a prescription; then all you do is open, mix with juice, then drink. This form of delivery has been around I have found for several years but is not used that frequently. A friend of mine, who has MS, went to the doctor in a full relapse this week and was prescribed this steroid in this manner. When she told me about how her Solu-Medrol was ordered, it blew my mind. Here I am a nurse and have read everything I can get my hands on that relates to MS and never have heard of this before. Needless to say I got on the internet to research this delivery method and actually had trouble finding the information. Most all the sites had a description of what it is, what it does, but when it came to how it is given, not one site indicated Solu-Medrol to be ingested orally. The only two sites I did find anything about this on were personal posts by two different individuals who were providing advice on how to tolerate it a little better. One suggested mixing it in grapefruit juice. Let me remind you that you are not supposed to eat or drink grapefruit juice when taking steroids, so this was bad advice. The other was just telling people that this had been ordered for her for the first time. The dates of both entries were dated 2008 and 2010 which means this delivery method has been around for a while.

So I spoke with my pharmacist about this option and he mentioned he had seen it ordered this way but not that often. I questioned whether insurance would pay for Solu-Medrol to be given this way and he said yes most of them do. My friend had indicated that her insurance would not pay and it had to be out-of-pocket expense for her; but that she preferred trying this way to avoid the drive each day and expense of an infusion center. I did learn that when taking oral Solu-Medrol that you must pre-medicate yourself with an antacid like Zantac or a “like” medication so your stomach could tolerate. It is hard to imagine the taste, heartburn, or stomach pain that is associated with an oral solution. This medication is hard enough to tolerate in the other forms.  I guess though if you are hard to stick for an IV, have difficulty getting to the office or infusion center, or don’t have access to Home Health, and then here is you another option. Just remember to check with your insurance company to see if they will cover the cost before obtaining the prescription. Your next problem will be actually finding a pharmacy that will sell it to you this way. In our home town, there are only 2 pharmacies which will do this. It does come in the 1000 mg dose which is usually the prescribed dosage for Solu-Medrol.

This is an usually way to receive this steroid but the option is available if you prefer. Maybe your physician will be open to ordering it this way. I guess the comment, “Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it” is appropriate here. I am interested to see how my friend tolerates this delivery and if her symptoms improve.

MS Blogger and Multiple Sclerosis Activist shares her journey living with MS, tips for others living MS and her husband, Steve, offers his insight as a caregiver for MS.