Difference Between Medrol and Prednisone


Main Difference

The main difference between Medrol and Prednisone is that Medrol is the brand name of methylprednisolone, and Prednisone is a generic term.

Medrol vs. Prednisone

Medrol is the brand name whereas Prednisone is a generic name. Medrol contains methylprednisolone, and Prednisone is the active moiety of a number of different brands. Medrol is found in preparatory forms as oral tablets, and injectable suspension while Prednisone is found in preparatory forms as oral tablets, oral tablets extended-release, and oral solutions.

Medrol’s active drug methylprednisolone acts to show its pharmacological actions, and Prednisone has to convert into methylprednisolone to show its pharmacological actions. Medrol is pregnancy category C drug and Prednisone is pregnancy category D drug. Medrol is a more preferred choice for psychosis than Prednisone.


Medrol is stronger in therapeutic actions than Prednisone. Medrol is less likely to prescribe to children as compared to Prednisone. Medrol oral preparation acts for 30-36 hrs, and Prednisone oral preparation acts for 18-36 hrs. Medrol half-life is 18-36 hrs, and Prednisone elimination half-life is 3-4 hrs.

Comparison Chart

Medrol is methylprednisolone and is used to decrease inflammation and suppress the immune system.Prednisone is a generic drug and is used to treat inflammation and acts as an immunomodulation drug.
Drug Category
Alter gene expressionAlter gene expression
Duration of Action
30-36 hrs18-36 hrs
Adverse Effects
Skin problems
Stomach pain
Sleep problems
Skin diseases
Stomach problems
Therapeutic Actions
Blood disorders
Respiratory system disorders
Immune system disorders
Pregnancy Category
Generic Availability
Brand Names
Itself a brandDeltasone, Prednicot

What is Medrol?

Medrol is the trade name of methylprednisolone. Medrol belongs to glucocorticoid. Medrol suppresses the immune system and helps to decrease the inflammation. Medrol on the basis of its pharmacological actions is used in a number of diseases. Medrol finds its use in the treatment of asthma, rheumatic disorders, skin disorders, COPD, allergies, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, lupus and tuberculosis as an add-on medication. Medrol is a member of Essential medicines by the World health organization. Medrol cannot be used in those patients who have any type of fungal infection in any body part or who are allergic to Medrol.

Medrol acts as corticosteroid hormone receptor agonist. Medrol in the form of unbound drug cross membrane of cells. After crossing cell membranes, Medrol binds to special cytoplasmic receptors with high affinity. This modifies the transcription and translation process, so it is involved in altering the gene expression. Medrol blocks the leukocyte infiltration at the inflammatory sites and helps to eradicate the sensitive tumor cells by stimulating the apoptosis. Medrol induces cell differentiation. Medrol suppresses the immune response by interfering with the inflammatory mediators.

Side effects of Medrol include some serious problems which are due to Medrol,s ability to suppress the immune system. The suppression of the immune system actually weakens the immune system, and the patient becomes susceptible to different infectious diseases. Medrol causes mental health problems. On long term use of Medrol patient suffers from osteoporosis, easy bruising, cataracts, and some yeast infections. Long term use of Medrol not only suppress the immune system but also causes swelling of face, edema, weight gain, hypertension, cognitive cardiac insufficiency, increased eye pressure and psychosis. Medrol also causes sleeplessness. Medrol use in pregnant woman is safe if they use it for shorter periods of time, but long term use of Medrol can cause harm to a pregnant woman.

What is Prednisone?

Prednisone belongs to glucocorticoids. Prednisone is generic term and its most famous brand name is Deltasone. Prednisone shows its therapeutic effects when it is converted to prednisolone by the liver. Prednisolone then binds to the glucocorticoid receptors, and these receptors then become active after binding with prednisolone. Activation of glucocorticoid receptors leads to change in gene expression. Change in gene expression helps in the treatment of different disorders, which include the different types of cancers, asthma, COPD, adrenal insufficeiency, rheumatological diseses. Prednisone is also used in decompensated heart failure and in migraine headaches. Prednisone is also used in organ transplantation to avoid tissue rejection in high doses.Prednisone also helps in high blood calcium caused by cancer. Prednisone is taken by mouth.

Prednisone is absorbed in GIT, and its half-life is 2 to 3 hrs. Prednisone calculated volume of distribution is 0.4-1 L/kg. Prednisone is degraded by cytochrome P450 enzymes, and its metabolites are excreted in urine and bile. Short term use of Prednisone leads to increase in high blood glucose levels in diabetes patients and fluid retention. Prednisone cannot be used in renal insufficiency because its mineralocorticoid effects are less prominent. Prednisone causes depression in some patients as a minor side effect. Prednisone, long term use, leads to cataracts, leukocytosis, steroid dementia, cushing syndrome, glaucoma and depression on dose reduction or complete cessation.

Prednisone dependence also develops, so when prednisone has to be given for the longer periods of time, then dose must be calculated by trial and error method. The dose must be smallest to achieve the desired therapeutic objective. When the goal of therapy is just to reduce the pain or inflammation then prednisone dose should be minute, and it can be given with some NSAID. If the goal of therapy is to treat a life-threatening situation then ist dose must be large but if it does not work then double the dose. After the achievement of therapeutic goal dose must be reduced.

Key Differences

  1. Medrol is the trade name, on the other hand, Prednisone is the generic term.
  2. Medrol has methylprednisolone as active therapeutic agent on the flip side Prednisone has a lot of good brands.
  3. Medrol oral tablets, injectable, suspension are available, whereas Prednisone oral tablets/oral tablets extended-release/oral solutions are available.
  4. Medrol’s active drug methylprednisolone shows its therapeutic actions, and Prednisone ist converts into methylprednisolone to show its therapeutic actions.
  5. Medrol belongs to pregnancy category C on the contrary Prednisone belongs to pregnancy category D.
  6. Medrol is more likely to prescribe for psychosis, on the other hand, Prednisone is less likely to prescribe for psychosis.
  7. Medrol is potent than prednisone, whereas Prednisone is less potent than Medrol.
  8. Medrol has a half-life of 18-36 hrs, on the other hand, Prednisone has 3-4 hrs of elimination half-life.
  9. Medrol oral preparation has 30-36 hrs duration of action on the flip side Prednisone oral preparation has 18-36 hrs duration of action.
  10. Medrol is not preferred choice for children, whereas Prednisone is preferred choice for children .


The main conclusion of the above discussion is that Medrol and Prednisone are corticosteroids and belong to glucocorticoids and are used to decrease inflammation and some other specific diseases

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White