Medrol Dosepak

Medrol (methylprednisolone) is a glucocorticoid similar to prednisone.  Available in 2mg, 4mg, 8mg, 16mg, and 32mg tablets, this steroid can be used to treat bursitis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and a variety of other conditions.

A fast-taper methylprednisolone dosepak contains 4mg pills conveniently arranged for easy dosing:  6 pills the first day, 5 pills the second day, and so on, decreasing one pill per day.

medrol pack

At my pharmacy, the cash price for these twenty-one pills is $33 ($1.57 per pill); the cost is obviously in the packaging. The cash price for a bottle of seventy 5mg prednisone pills is only $10 (14 cents per pill).  4mg Medrol equals approximately 5mg prednisone, so this is a fair comparison.

Of course, buying a bottle of pills would require you to be able to count to six so you get the right number of pills the first day. It would also require keeping track of which day you’re on. That’s easier said than done, because any condition that would call for that dose of steroid probably puts clear-thinking on hold.  Nonetheless, a simple piece of paper kept on the kitchen counter with the pill bottle would suffice.  Another option would be to put a portion of the money saved toward a pill box (if you don’t already own one).  If you don’t want a bunch of prednisone left for future tapers, you’d still save money buying prednisone instead of Medrol, and just throw the unused medicine in the trash.

Cost is not the only drawback I find.  It amazes me that something marketed for people who might be having difficulty using their hands is so incredibly difficult to open.  Be aware that if you use this medicine, you might need assistance getting at your pills.

If your doctor ever recommends a Medrol dosepak for a quick steroid taper, it might be worth discussing a more economical and easy to use medicine.

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3 thoughts on “Medrol Dosepak

  1. That’s a good practical tip. Also a good point about the packaging. My losec used to come a a pack like that. It was such a pain and some of the pills would go shooting across the floor.
    What a price difference!!

    • I plan to write a post about steroids, but this was more shock at the high cost of unneeded packaging. If you follow the link on the first word in the post, it will take you to a page that includes information on Medrol’s side effects.

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