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Dealing with the Side-Effects of Intravenous Solu-Medrol Treatment

Updated on February 22, 2015
Intravenous Solu-Medrol Treatment
Intravenous Solu-Medrol Treatment | Source

Introduction

Intravenous Solu-Medrol treatment (IVSM) is a technique used to help sufferers of various illnesses manage their conditions. IVSM treatment involves injecting high doses of glucocorticoid steroids, specifically methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol) via an intravenous line.

IVSM is often used to treat acute flare-ups of conditions, and although it can be effective in helping sufferers deal with their illnesses, the side-effects of the IVSM itself can be difficult to deal with.

In this article we'll explore some of the methods that patients can use to minimize and control the side-effects and discomfort caused by IVSM. We'll explore:

  • Conditions treated by IVSM
  • Managing the side-effects of IVSM
  • Finding veins for an IV line
  • Dealing with headaches as a result of IVSM
  • Reducing feelings of anxiety
  • Managing heartburn, acid reflux or digestive pain
  • Dealing with a horrible taste in the mouth
  • Coping with feelings of hunger
  • Getting to sleep
  • Living with mood-swings, depression or anxiety
  • Coping with a weakened immune system

Conditions treated by IVSM

Some of the conditions and illnesses that can be treated by IVSM include:

  • Blood disorders and diseases.
  • Cancer of various types.
  • Serious allergic reactions.
  • Some eye conditions.
  • Some diseases of the skin, intestines, lungs or kidneys.
  • Immune system disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis.

IVSM works by reducing the response of a patient's immune system to various diseases, resulting in a beneficial lessening of pain and swelling.

IVSM treatment can be difficult, but it is a necessary evil in treating many conditions
IVSM treatment can be difficult, but it is a necessary evil in treating many conditions | Source

Managing the side-effects of IVSM

The side-effects that can be caused by IVSM are many and varied and will be individual to the patient being treated. The following techniques can be used to minimize the problems and discomfort caused by IVSM.

Finding veins for an IV line

If you or a nurse are finding it difficult to locate a vein to insert an IV needle into, make sure that you drink plenty of fluids. Being well hydrated will make it easier to see a vein and insert an IV needle.

Anything that you can do yourself to reduce the side-effects of IVSM treatment will help you throughout your treatment
Anything that you can do yourself to reduce the side-effects of IVSM treatment will help you throughout your treatment | Source

Dealing with headaches as a result of IVSM

If you regularly suffer headaches due to IVSM, speak to your nurse about slowing down your IVSM treatment. For example, if you normally take your IVSM over 90 minutes, you might instead want to take it over two hours. This can reduce the likelihood of you suffering from headaches.

Reducing feelings of anxiety

Use of IVSM can cause a patient to feel hyper-alert and anxious because of the stress that the medication can cause. As a result, it's important to rest and reduce sensory stimulation after a treatment of IVSM.

Don't underestimate the psychological effects of IVSM treatment
Don't underestimate the psychological effects of IVSM treatment | Source

Managing heartburn, acid reflux or digestive pain

IVSM can increase digestive acid production, resulting in discomfort. Taking Zantac or other antacid medications will help control and reduce the effects of digestive acid.

Dealing with a horrible taste in the mouth

Use of IVSM can leave some patients with a horrible metallic taste in the mouth. Drinking grape juice, sucking on mints and eating hard candies can help to reduce these flavors.

Coping with feelings of hunger

Healthy, potassium-rich foods can help a patient to deal with the hunger pangs that are often caused by IVSM. Bananas, apricots, beets and beans can all help to reduce these hunger pangs due to their high potassium content.

Ultimately, IVSM treatment will help you to have a better quality of life
Ultimately, IVSM treatment will help you to have a better quality of life | Source

Getting to sleep

IVSM does cause insomnia. Find out if you can be prescribed insomnia mediation, for example Zolpidem or Ambien over the short-term to help deal with this.

Living with mood-swings, depression or anxiety

Some of the more common side-effects associated with IVSM are depression, anxiety and mood-swings. If you are experiencing any of these, speak with your family and friends and get some support from them. Your doctor may also be able to prescribe some anti-anxiety medication.

Solu-Medrol IV Infusion Therapy

Coping with a weakened immune system

Because IVSM does weaken the immune system and puts your body under stress, you may be more susceptible to infection. If you start to suffer from a cough, cold or fever, talk to a physician and get medication to treat it.

If you receive IVSM treatment, what side-effect causes you the most concern?

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In closing

IVSM is very much the 'lesser of two evils' - Although it can help with managing and treating various conditions, the side-effects that it causes can be very challenging.

Through understanding how IVSM will affect you personally, you can take steps to minimize the impact on you and make it easier to deal with.

Good luck! Please share your experiences in the comments.

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