DEXAMETHASONE (dex a METH a sone) is a corticosteroid. It is commonly used to treat inflammation of the skin, joints, lungs, and other organs. Common conditions treated include asthma, allergies, and arthritis. It is also used for other conditions, such as blood disorders and diseases of the adrenal glands.
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
high blood pressure
infection like herpes, measles, tuberculosis, or chickenpox
previous heart attack
stomach or intestine problems
an unusual or allergic reaction to dexamethasone, corticosteroids, other medicines, lactose, foods, dyes, or preservatives
pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
Take this medicine by mouth with a drink of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take it with food or milk to avoid stomach upset. If you are taking this medicine once a day, take it in the morning. Do not take more medicine than you are told to take. Do not suddenly stop taking your medicine because you may develop a severe reaction. Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to take. If your doctor wants you to stop the medicine, the dose may be slowly lowered over time to avoid any side effects.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
Patients over 65 years old may have a stronger reaction and need a smaller dose.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, talk to your doctor or health care professional. You may need to miss a dose or take an extra dose. Do not take double or extra doses without advice.
What may interact with this medication?
Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
live virus vaccines
This medicine may also interact with the following medications:
aspirin and aspirin-like medicines
certain antibiotics like erythromycin, clarithromycin, and troleandomycin
certain antivirals for HIV or hepatitis
certain medicines for seizures like carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin
certain medicines to treat myasthenia gravis
female hormones, like estrogen or progestins and birth control pills
insulin or other medicines for diabetes
medicines that relax muscles for surgery
NSAIDs, medicines for pain and inflammation, like ibuprofen or naproxen
skin tests for allergies
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
bloody or black, tarry stools
changes in emotions or moods
changes in vision
confusion, excitement, restlessness
fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine
severe or sudden stomach or belly pain
signs and symptoms of high blood sugar such as being more thirsty or hungry or having to urinate more than normal. You may also feel very tired or have blurry vision.
signs and symptoms of infection like fever; chills; cough; sore throat; pain or trouble passing urine
swelling of ankles, feet
unusual bruising or bleeding
wounds that do not heal
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
increased growth of face or body hair
skin problems, acne, thin and shiny skin
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Visit your health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Tell your health care professional if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse. Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medicine.
Wear a medical ID bracelet or chain. Carry a card that describes your disease and details of your medicine and dosage times.
This medicine may increase your risk of getting an infection. Call your health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills, or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. Try to avoid being around people who are sick. Call your health care professional if you are around anyone with measles, chickenpox, or if you develop sores or blisters that do not heal properly.
If you are going to need surgery or other procedures, tell your doctor or health care professional that you have taken this medicine within the last 12 months.
Ask your doctor or health care professional about your diet. You may need to lower the amount of salt you eat.
This medicine may increase blood sugar. Ask your healthcare provider if changes in diet or medicines are needed if you have diabetes.
Where should I keep my medication?
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Protect from light. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
This information is educational only and should not be construed as specific instructions for individual patients nor as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about the information and instructions. K Health assumes no liability for any use or reliance on this information.