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.

Question

I was prescribed a methylprednisolone dose pack 4mg this afternoon. Do I have to wait till morning to begin taking it?

Asked by Nick On Mar 17, 2019

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Mar 17, 2019
Illustration Hand holding Blister Pack Handing Over

Do You Need To Wait Until The Morning To Start Your Medrol Dosepak?

Although it can be confusing based on how the directions are stated on the box, you do not need to wait until the morning of the next day to start your Medrol (methylprednisolone) Dosepak.

This is especially true if you are having moderate to severe symptoms that need to be addressed.

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 (methylprednisolone) 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:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Insomnia
  • 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.

Final Words

As mentioned, you can take your Medrol Dose Pak 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.

Answer Summary

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.

References
  • Elsevier ClinicalKey: Methylprednisolone Monograph
  • 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

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

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