Dexamethasone

Generic Name: Dexamethasone

  • What is Dexamethasone?

    Dexamethasone is used for a variety of conditions as determined by your doctor, including severe allergies that cannot be otherwise treated, skin diseases, stomach problems such as ulcerative colitis, arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (a disease that affects the immune system), psoriasis (immune disorder that affects the skin), lung diseases, and certain cancers. Dexamethasone can be used for conditions affecting many different parts of the body, including the skin, stomach, blood, eyes, nervous system, kidneys, lungs, and glands. It is available in several different formulations, including tablets, solution, and injection.

  • What is the most important information I should know about Dexamethasone?

    Dexamethasone may increase the risk of infections. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop a fever or other signs of infection.

    Do not discontinue the use of dexamethasone abruptly or without medical supervision.

    Avoid exposure to chickenpox or measles. If exposed to chickenpox or measles, seek medical advice without delay.

    While being treated with dexamethasone, do not receive live vaccines, as dexamethasone may suppress your immune system. You may receive killed or inactivated vaccines, but the body's response cannot be predicted.

    Dexamethasone may cause eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma (high pressure in the eye), and eye infections.

    This medication may aggravate existing emotional problems or cause psychotic episodes. Symptoms may include mood swings, personality changes, and difficulty sleeping. If you experience depression or any other changes in mood, contact your doctor.

  • Who should not take Dexamethasone?

    Do not take dexamethasone if you have a fungal infection or if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Dexamethasone?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with dexamethasone. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you currently have any infections, high blood pressure, heart disorders, kidney or liver disorders, stomach disorders (such as ulcers), behavioral and mood disorders, asthma, sulfite allergy, risks for osteoporosis (such as women who are postmenopausal), eye problems, myasthenia gravis (a disease characterized by long-lasting fatigue and muscle weakness), or thyroid problems. In addition, let your doctor know if you have recently received any vaccines or are scheduled to receive any vaccines.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Adults: The usual starting dose for oral formulations may range from 0.75 to 9 milligrams (mg) per day. Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dose for you based on your condition and response.

    Children: Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child based on his or her condition, response, and body weight.

  • How should I take Dexamethasone?

    Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

    Dexamethasone intensol, the concentrated oral solution, should be mixed with liquid or semi-solid food such as water, juices, soda or soda-like beverages, applesauce, and puddings. Use the supplied dropper to measure the dose. Then squeeze the dropper contents into a liquid or semi-solid food. Stir gently for a few seconds, and immediately consume the entire amount.

    Your doctor will administer the injection for you.

  • What should I avoid while taking Dexamethasone?

    You should not receive certain vaccines (such as the smallpox vaccine) while taking dexamethasone. Avoid exposure to chickenpox or measles. Do not stop taking this medication abruptly.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Dexamethasone?

    If dexamethasone is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining dexamethasone with the following: aminoglutethimide, amphotericin B, anticholinesterase agents (such as pyridostigmine), barbiturates (such as phenobarbital), blood thinners (such as warfarin), carbamazepine, certain antibiotics (such as erythromycin), certain vaccines, cholestyramine, cyclosporine, diabetes medications or insulin, digitalis or digoxin, diuretics (water pills), drugs used to treat tuberculosis (such as isoniazid and rifampin), ephedrine, estrogens including birth control pills, indinavir, ketoconazole, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents including aspirin and indomethacin, phenytoin, skin tests, and thalidomide.

  • What are the possible side effects of Dexamethasone?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: acne, depression, dry scaly skin, fast or slow heartbeat, headache, high blood pressure, increased appetite, muscle weakness, osteoporosis (thin, weak bones), stomach problems, weight gain

  • Can I receive Dexamethasone if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of dexamethasone during pregnancy are unknown. Dexamethasone is found in breast milk, and you should not breastfeed while taking dexamethasone. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Dexamethasone?

    If you miss a dose of dexamethasone, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

    Dexamethasone may also be given under special circumstances as determined by your doctor. If you miss your scheduled dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

    Dexamethasone injection will be administered by your doctor.

  • How should I store Dexamethasone?

    Store at room temperature. Protect tablets from moisture. Do not freeze concentrated oral solution, and discard opened bottle after 90 days.

    Your doctor will store dexamethasone injection for you.