Do You Need To Wait Until Morning To A Start Medrol Dose Pak?
In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses why you may not want to wait until the next day to start your Medrol Dosepak.
I was prescribed a methylprednisolone dose pack 4mg this afternoon. Do I have to wait till morning to begin taking it?
Last updated Mar 03, 2022
- You do not need to wait until the next day to start your Medrol Dosepak (methylprednisolone) prescription if you pick it up later in the day.
- However, it is important that you take all the prescribed pills for each day (e.g. 6 pills on day one, 5 pills on day two etc...) for best results.
Hello and thank you for your question!
One of the most common questions retail pharmacists get from their patients regarding the Medrol Dosepak (methylprednisolone) is whether or not they can start taking it at any time of the day, not just in the morning as the box states.
It makes sense to want to start taking the drug as soon as possible. Medrol Dosepaks are generally prescribed for urgent relief of troublesome or concerning symptoms, such as for allergic reactions, or after an asthma attack.
The good news is that you don't have to follow directions exactly as they are on the box. You can alter them to better accommodate the time of day you pick up your prescription.
Wait Until Morning Or Start Right Away?
You do not need to wait until the morning of the next day to start your Medrol Dosepak.
This is especially true if you are having moderate to severe symptoms that need to be addressed quickly.
To get the most immediate relief of your symptoms, you should start taking your Medrol Dosepak prescription as soon as you get it from the pharmacy, even if you pick it up later in the day.
In most cases, it is okay (and safe) to not follow the manufacturer-recommended directions exactly, as they are just that, a recommendation to help you split up doses throughout the day.
You can deviate from them and still get the full benefits of the medication; though you may experience slightly more side effects (e.g., insomnia).
The most important thing is to take the total amount of pills prescribed per day.
What Are The Recommended Directions For The Medrol Dosepak?
The recommended dosing instructions (that are supplied by the manufacturer) for the Medrol Dosepak are as follows:
- Day One: Take 2 tablets (8 mg) by mouth before breakfast, 1 tablet (4 mg) after lunch, 1 tablet (4 mg) after supper, and 2 tablets (8 mg) at bedtime.
- Day Two: Take 1 tablet (4 mg) by mouth before breakfast. 1 tablet (4 mg) after lunch, 1 tablet (4 mg) after supper, and 2 tablets (8 mg) at bedtime.
- Day Three: Take 1 tablet (4 mg) by mouth before breakfast, 1 tablet (4 mg) after lunch, 1 tablet (4 mg) after supper, and 1 tablet (4 mg) at bedtime.
- Day Four: Take 1 tablet (4 mg) by mouth before breakfast, 1 tablet (4 mg) after lunch, and 1 tablet (4 mg) at bedtime.
- Day Five: Take 1 tablet (4 mg) by mouth before breakfast, and 1 tablet (4 mg) at bedtime.
- Day Six: 1 tablet (4 mg) by mouth before breakfast.
The directions for the Medrol Dosepak are clearly written as if you were to start the medication in the morning on the first day.
However, as stated, if this isn't possible, you can simply alter them to fit how much of the day you have left. It is just important to take the full dosage prescribed per day (i.e. 6 tablets on day one, 5 tablets on day two etc.).
For example, if you picked up your Medrol Dosepak at 5 in the evening, for the first day, you could take 3 pills at that time and 3 tablets before you go to bed. From there, follow the directions as stated on the package.
Medrol Dosepak Side Effects
The main reason why the dosage of Medrol is broken up throughout the day is to decrease the incidence of side effects. The most commonly reported side effects of the Medrol Dosepak are:
- Abdominal pain
- A feeling of restlessness
Taking Medrol with food can help to reduce both the incidence and severity of side effects.
Additionally, following the recommended dosing instructions, which breaks up your dose throughout the day, can also lead to the drug being better tolerated but this isn't always possible based on when you start your first day's dose.
As mentioned, you can take your Medrol Dosepak in a way that is different from the way the directions recommend breaking up your doses.
The more important aspect of dosing is to take all the pills prescribed for that particular day.
It is important to be aware that higher doses may cause you to experience slightly more side effects, like nausea and trouble sleeping (especially if taken close to bedtime).
Nevertheless, if the symptoms you are experiencing are particularly bad, such as after an asthma attack, it makes sense to start the medication as soon as you get it. This will provide the most immediate benefit.
However, if you are only having mild symptoms, you could certainly wait until the morning of the next day to start to lower the risk of side effects. That is fine too.
Lastly, if your doctor has recommended you take your Medrol Dosepak in a specific manner, be sure to have a discussion with them before altering your instructions for taking them.
- Methylprednisolone Monograph, ClinicalKey (Subscription Required)
- Survey of orthopaedic and sports medicine physicians regarding use of Medrol dosepak for sports injuries, PubMed
- Does Pulse Dosing of Methylprednisolone Have an Acute Effect on Serum Creatinine Concentrations?, PubMed
- Medrol Dosepak Prescribing Information, Pfizer
- Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD
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