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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Corticosteroids in COPD

09/14/2009

Question:

Why is oral prednisone used in the treatment of COPD rather than other steroids? How does cortisone and prednisone differ?

Answer:

Hydrocortisone, methylprednisilone (medrol) and prednisone are all coriticosteroids.  They have essentially the same effects and side effects.  Medrol and prednisone are longer-acting than hydrocortisone and are commonly used in COPD treatment.  Medrol causes less water and sodium retention than the others. 

Your physician makes the determination of which drug would be best for you.  Medrol and prednisone are available as an oral tablet. Medrol is also available for injection such as IV.   

In terms of equivalence, medrol 4 mgs= prednisone 5 mgs.

Basically, there are no differences in effects and side-effects between medrol and prednisone. 

There are also formulations of corticosteroids that are inhalation delivery.  Again these work in the same manner, but are believed to cause less systemic side effects than oral steroids. 

For more information:

Go to the COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Gerene S Bauldoff, RN, PhD, FCCP, FAACVPR, FAAN Gerene S Bauldoff, RN, PhD, FCCP, FAACVPR, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University