Upjohn vs Pfizer Depo-Medrol: Different Dosages For Different Diseases

Posted on September 30th, 2015

For many years, Depo-Medrol has been used in various amounts dictated by the disease of the animal.

The medical profession knows to use smaller amounts of Depo-Medrol for allergies, but when it comes to more severe canine and feline diseases, such as very severe allergies, autoimmune diseases and some forms of cancer, increased amounts of Depo-Medrol are definitely indicated.

What is not recognized by many in the veterinary profession is that the recommendations for the use of Depo-Medrol by the Upjohn Company are no longer applicable, because Upjohn Company has not manufactured Depo-Medrol in several years.

The following is a list of statements and links to prominent websites which make recommendations on the amount of Depo-Medrol to use in veterinary medicine for different medical conditions in canines and in felines.  Also included is the manufacturer’s dosage recommendation by Pfizer, which is definitely different from the recommendations suggested by the Upjohn Company that no longer manufactures Depo-Medrol.

The generic Depo-Medrol that is produced for Pfizer by Zoetis is effective but must be used in increased amounts, as compared to the suggested amounts used by the Upjohn Company for their Depo-Medrol, in order to achieve the same clinical benefits. Their directions for proper use of their Depo-Medrol relates to ranges and not mgs/lb. as did the Upjohn Depo-Medrol.

National Veterinary Diagnostic Services has done 29,000 of my endocrine immune blood tests, which indicate the difference between dose levels using the once manufactured Upjohn Depo-Medrol, in comparison to using the Pfizer Depo-Medrol now.

This was determined by measuring the effects of the Depo-Medrol on the Hypothalamic Pituitary Axis and the production of ACTH, which not only stimulates the production of excess adrenal estrogen, but also creates a deregulation of the B-lymphocyte production of immunoglobulins.

These levels were all normalized and coordinated with correcting the clinical signs of all the patients that were tested with the use of higher amounts of the Pfizer Depo-Medrol.

I was interested in finding out what clinical trials had been done by Pfizer to indicate their suggestion of ranges for the use of their product and not mgs/lb. I spoke to one of the veterinary representatives for Pfizer and she indicated that because Depo-Medrol was an older pharmaceutical product, the FDA no longer required clinical trial records to be kept.

The blood test results indicated the following:

  • Upjohn Depo-Medrol was effective when used at 1 mg/lb. of body weight as an intermuscular injection when it was being manufactured.
  • Pfizer Depo-Medrol suggests only range use and no recommendations for mgs/lb. of body weight, but it must be given in the muscle and not in the subcutaneous tissue, because it is a repositol solution that needs vascularity to guarantee normal release into the body of the patient.
  • My suggested use of the Pfizer Depo-Medrol is based upon 29,000 endocrine immune blood tests and may vary in its use from 1.5 to 3mgs/lb. of body weight, depending on normalizing the endocrine immune blood test and system and healing the disease of the patient.

For further information on this blood test, please read my Animal Protocol.

Zoetis, now the manufacturer of Depo-Medrol for Pfizer, suggests these following recommendations about the dosage:

“The dose varies with the size of the animal patient, the severity of the condition under treatment, and the animal’s response to therapy.

The average intramuscular dose for dogs is 10 to 20 mg. and in accordance with the size of the dog and severity of the condition under treatment, the dose may range from 2 mg in miniature breeds to 40 mg in medium breeds, and even as high as 120 mg in extremely large breeds or dogs with severe involvement.

The average Depo-Medrol dose for cats is 10 mgs with a range up to 20 mgs.

Injections may be made at weekly intervals or in accordance with the severity of the condition and clinical response.”

NOTE: Apparently Pfizer Depo-Medrol has no recommendations indicating mgs/lb. of body weight but suggest a range for its use to effect. I have also found that the Pfizer Depo-Medrol will still remain active in the patient’s system for at least two weeks, if not longer, so be very careful if you give your patient a weekly injection of the Pfizer Depo-Medrol, because it might create an overdose.


The Drug Library at petplace.com reports:

"The doses of Depomedrol (methylprednisolone) used in dogs and cats depend on the condition, severity, preparation, route of administration (oral or injectable) and other factors.

Doses range from 0.5 mg per pound (1 mg/kg) to 15 mg per pound (30 mg/kg)."

At rxlist.com, these guidelines are shared:

"The initial dosage of parenteral administered DEPOMEDROL will vary from 4 to 120 mg depending on the specific disease entity being treated. However, in certain overwhelming, acute, life-threatening situations, administrations in dosages exceeding the usual dosages may be justified and may be in multiples of the oral doses.

It should be emphasized that Dosage Requirements are Variable and Must Be Individualized on the Basis of the Disease Under Treatment and the Response of the Patient.”

A pet education website discusses corticosteroids and how dosage amounts vary:

"Corticosteroids comprise one of the most beneficial groups of medications used in dogs, cats, and other pets. These medications have one of the widest ranges of use of any class of drugs.

From the veterinarian's point of view, an additional problem with steroid therapy is that none of the products or the disease syndromes treated have exact dosages. It varies with each condition and each animal. As with an anesthetic agent, the goal is to use only the minimum amount necessary to produce the desired effect. Two animals weighing exactly the same and having the same disorder may require very different dosages of steroids to control the condition and/or prevent side effects.

Veterinarians are constantly doing a balancing act between these two extremes of steroid usage. When an animal is sent home under the observation of the owner, frequent communication with the veterinarian is necessary to describe how the disease is responding and how the animal is dealing with the medication."

One Final Note:

Please remember when using ongoing steroid therapy in a canine patient, whether oral or injectable, an oral thyroxin supplement should be given twice daily to help increase the metabolism of the liver and kidneys, in order to breakdown and excrete the steroid supplement in 24 hours.

Without doing this, in a 24 hour period, a small amount of the steroid supplement may still remain, and if so, after a week or two, the steroid supplement may go from a treatment dosage, to an overdose, creating many different side effects.

This article was written to point out that there is a major difference in treating a patient with Pfizer Depo-Medrol and the suggested dose recommendation for the use of Upjohn Depo-Medrol is no longer applicable or available.