Which medications in the drug class Corticosteroids are used in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis?

Updated: Oct 08, 2019
  • Author: Christopher Luzzio, MD; Chief Editor: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA  more...
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Corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation and expedite recovery from acute relapses. The most commonly used corticosteroids in MS include methylprednisolone, dexamethasone and prednisone. Short courses of intravenous methylprednisolone with or without a short prednisone taper have been used.

Methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol, Depo-Medrol, Medrol)

Methylprednisolone is given for acute exacerbations of MS. By reversing increased capillary permeability and suppressing polymorphonuclear neutrophil (PMN) activity, methylprednisolone may decrease inflammation. In addition, it may alter the expression of some proinflammatory cytokines.

Dexamethasone (Dexamethasone Intensol, DoubleDex, Decadron, Active Injection D)

Dexamethasone can be given for acute exacerbations of MS. It stabilizes cell and lysosomal membranes, increases surfactant synthesis, increases serum vitamin A concentration, and inhibits prostaglandin and proinflammatory cytokines. Dexamethasone is available as an injection that can be administered intravenously or intramuscularly and in various oral formulations (tablets, elixir, and solution).

Prednisone (Deltasone, Rayos)

Prednisone prevents or suppresses inflammation and immune responses when administered at pharmacological doses. Prednisone's actions include inhibition of leukocyte infiltration at the site of inflammation, interference in the function of mediators of inflammatory response, and suppression of humoral immune responses. Oral prednisone tapers are commonly administered with or without methylprednisolone.

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