Medication belonging to the corticosteroid class that includes methylprednisone, prednisone and dexamethasone reduce the inflammation inside the brain and spinal cord.
Prednisone and methylprednisone are both administered orally. They follow a treatment that relies on a high dose of intravenous methylprednisone for about four days during the attack of MS (IV treatment).
The purpose of corticosteroids use
The medicines of this class are very effective against acute attacks of MS and acute optic neuritis problems.
Corticosteroids decrease the severity and frequency of MS symptoms and drive to a more rapid recovery, but they were not proved to stop or diminish the progress of the disease.
In case of optic neuritis attack, IV methylprednisone is the first step of the treatment. Then, oral administration of prednisone follows; used alone, this medicine can increase the probability of another optic neuritis episode.
On short term, corticoids generate a small number of side effects. some of these are:
* – Insomnia
* – Agitation and anxiety
* – Depression.
Once the treatment is interrupted, so are the side effects.
High doses or long term treatment involving corticosteroids generate much more severe side effects:
* – Face swelling and weight gain
* – Diabetes or other blood sugar problems
* – Osteoporosis
* – Hypertension
* – Cataracts
* – Stomach and intestinal bleedings
* – Decreased resistance to infections
* – Paranoia, psychosis and serious agitation
* – The death of the tissue of bones because of insufficient blood supply
These effects rightfully worry people with frequent attacks of MS, that desperately need them.
Corticosteroids that are administered intravenously (the IV treatment) have less side effects and act more rapidly than the oral forms. However, the treatment with IV methylprednisone is often effectively followed by the one using oral methylprednisone. The doses are gradually reduced by the end of the treatment to encourage the organism’s own production of corticosteroids.
One disadvantage of this treatment is that it doesn’t suit every person that needs it. In some of the cases, long term use determines an efficiency loss.