Dexamethasone: How to use, Side Effects, Dosage

Dexamethasone: How to use, Side Effects, Dosage

What is Dexamethasone?

Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid that prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation. Dexamethasone is used to treat many different inflammatory conditions such as allergic disorders and skin conditions. Dexamethasone is also used to treat ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus.

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How to use Dexamethasone?

Take dexamethasone by mouth as directed by your doctor. Take with food or milk to prevent stomach upset. Take dexamethasone by mouth with a full glass of water (8 ounces/240 milliliters) unless your doctor directs you otherwise. If you are using the liquid form of the medication, use a medication-measuring device to carefully measure the prescribed dose. Do not use a household spoon.

If you take dexamethasone once daily, take it in the morning before 9 AM. If you are taking dexamethasone every other day or on another schedule besides a daily one, it may help to mark your calendar with a reminder.

The dosage and length of treatment are based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Your doctor may attempt to reduce your dose slowly from time to time to minimize side effects.

Use dexamethasone regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day. It is important to continue taking dexamethasone even if you feel well. Follow the dosing schedule carefully, and take dexamethasone exactly as prescribed.

Do not stop taking dexamethasone without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.

Inform your doctor if your condition does not improve or worsens.

Dosage of Dexamethasone

The initial dosage varies from 0.75 to 9 mg a day depending on the disease being treated.

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.

After a favourable response is noted, the proper maintenance dosage should be determined by decreasing the initial drug dosage in small decrements at appropriate time intervals until the lowest dosage that maintains an adequate clinical response is reached.


Treatment of overdosage is by supportive and symptomatic therapy. In the case of acute overdosage, according to the patient's condition, supportive therapy may include gastric lavage or emesis.

Drugs that may interact with Dexamethasone

Common medications checked in combination with dexamethasone


Aspirin Low Strength (aspirin)

Ativan (lorazepam)

Benadryl (diphenhydramine)

ciprofloxacin (Cipro, Cipro Cystitis Pack, Cipro XR, Cipro I.V., Proquin XR)

Clomid (clomiphene)

Cymbalta (duloxetine)

docetaxel (Taxotere, Docefrez)

Fentanyl Transdermal System (fentanyl)

hydrocodone (Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER, Vantrela ER)


Keppra (levetiracetam)

Lasix (furosemide)


Lyrica (pregabalin)

MiraLax (polyethylene glycol 3350)

Morphine Sulfate ER (morphine)


Norco (acetaminophen / hydrocodone)


Panadol (acetaminophen)

Paracetamol (acetaminophen)


Revlimid (lenalidomide)

Synthroid (levothyroxine)


Tylenol (acetaminophen)

Vicodin (acetaminophen / hydrocodone)

Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)

Xanax (alprazolam)

Zofran (ondansetron)

Dexamethasone while Pregnancy

This drug readily crosses the placenta. Teratogenicity including increased incidence of cleft palate have occurred in animal studies, however, the relevance to human has been questioned. Reduced placental and birth weight have been recorded in animals and humans after long term treatment. There is the possibility of adrenal cortex suppression in the new-born with long term use in the mother; however, the short term use of corticosteroids antepartum for the prevention of respiratory distress syndrome does not seem to pose a risk to the fetus or the new-born infant. Maternal pulmonary edema has been reported with inhibition of uterine contractions and fluid overload. There are no adequate and well controlled studies in pregnant women.


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Side effects of Dexamethasone

Along with its needed effects, dexamethasone may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking dexamethasone:

More Common




blurred vision

decrease in the amount of urine


fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse



mental depression

mood changes


noisy, rattling breathing

numbness or tingling in the arms or legs

pounding in the ears

shortness of breath

swelling of the fingers, hands, feet, or lower legs

trouble thinking, speaking, or walking

troubled breathing at rest

weight gain

Incidence Not Known

Abdominal cramping and/or burning (severe)

abdominal pain


bloody, black, or tarry stools

cough or hoarseness

darkening of skin

decrease in height

decreased vision


dry mouth

eye pain

eye tearing

facial hair growth in females



fever or chills

flushed, dry skin


fruit-like breath odor

full or round face, neck, or trunk

heartburn and/or indigestion (severe and continuous)

increased hunger

increased thirst

increased urination

loss of appetite

loss of sexual desire or ability

lower back or side pain

menstrual irregularities

muscle pain or tenderness

muscle wasting or weakness


pain in back, ribs, arms, or legs

painful or difficult urination

skin rash



trouble healing

trouble sleeping

unexplained weight loss

unusual tiredness or weakness

vision changes


vomiting of material that looks like coffee grounds

Warnings of Dexamethasone

Before taking dexamethasone, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using dexamethasone, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: infections (e.g., tuberculosis, herpes, fungal infections), kidney disease, liver disease, mental/mood conditions (e.g., psychosis, anxiety, depression), low blood minerals (e.g.,low potassium/calcium), thyroid disease, stomach/intestinal problems (e.g., ulcer,ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, unexplaineddiarrhea), high blood pressure, heart problems (e.g., congestive heart failure, recent heart attack), diabetes, eye diseases (e.g., cataracts, glaucoma, herpes infection of the eye), brittle bones (osteoporosis), history of blood clots.

dexamethasone may mask signs of infection or put you at greater risk of developing very serious infections. Report any injuries or signs of infection (e.g., persistent sore throat/fever/cough, pain during urination, muscle aches) that occur during treatment.

Using corticosteroid medications for a long time can make it more difficult for your body to respond to physical stress. Therefore, before having surgery or emergency treatment, or if you get a serious illness/injury, tell your doctor or dentist that you are using dexamethasone or have used dexamethasone within the past 12 months. Tell your doctor right away if you develop unusual/extreme tiredness or weight loss. If you will be using dexamethasone for a long time, carry a warning card or medical ID bracelet that identifies your use of dexamethasone.

Do not have immunizations, vaccinations, or skin tests unless specifically directed by your doctor. Live vaccines may cause serious complications (e.g., infection) if given while you are taking dexamethasone. Avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine or vaccine inhaled through the nose.

Avoid contact with people who have chickenpox or measles unless you have previously had these diseases (e.g., in childhood). If you are exposed to one of these infections and you have not previously had it, seek immediate medical attention.

If you have a history of ulcers or take large doses of aspirin or other arthritis medication, limit alcoholic beverages while taking dexamethasone to decrease the risk of stomach/intestinal bleeding. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

If you have diabetes, this drug may make it harder to control your blood sugar levels. Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and inform your doctor of the results. Your medicine, exercise plan, or diet may need to be adjusted.

This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana can make you dizzier. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana.

dexamethasone may slow down a child's growth if used for a long time. Consult the doctor or pharmacist for more details. See the doctor regularly so your child's height and growth can be checked.

During pregnancy, dexamethasone should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Infants born to mothers who have been using dexamethasone for an extended time and/or at high doses may have low levels of corticosteroid hormone. Tell your doctor right away if you notice symptoms such as persistent nausea/vomiting, severe diarrhea, or weakness in your new-born.

This drug may pass into breast milk and could have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast- feeding.


Please if you have any questions about Dexamethasone, you can ask us by commenting below this text, we'll answer you as soon as possible.

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