What is Dexamethasone?
Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid that helps in preventing the release of inflammatory substances in the body. Its use is for the treatment of many different inflammatory conditions such as skin conditions and allergic disorders. It is also useful in treating ulcerative colitis, arthritis, psoriasis, lupus, and breathing disorder.
It is on the World Health Organization (WHO) ‘s list of essential medicines.
What is the use of Dexamethasone?
Dexamethasone is useful in treating rheumatic problems, asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease, croup, brain swelling, eye pain following eye surgery, and antibiotics in tuberculosis.
It helps the people who are undergoing chemotherapy. Dexamethasone is available to counterpart specific side effects of antitumor treatments. It is available in transvenous screw-in cardiac pacing leads to minimize the inflammatory response of the myocardium.
It is present in eye drops, especially after eye surgery, and as a nasal spray, particular ear drops also have it.
It is useful for the patients with COVID-19 who need mechanical ventilation or supplemental oxygen.
It is useful in the treatment of a sporadic disorder of glucocorticoid resistance. It is under prescription when the patient does not respond well to prednisone or methylprednisolone during adrenal insufficiency and Addison’s disease.
It may be under prescription to a woman at risk of premature delivery to promote the maturation of the fetus’ lungs.
It is also useful in treating high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) and high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE). It helps climbers during high altitude expeditions. It helps prevent nausea and vomiting.
Generic dosage for inflammation and other conditions: It comes in oral tablets and is available in different strengths such as 0.5 mg, 0.75 mg, 1 mg, 1.5 mg, 4 mg, and 6 mg.
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
Typical dosage- 0.75 to 9 mg every day depending upon the condition of treatment
Child dosage (ages 0-17 years)
Initial dosage- 0.02 to 0.3 mg per kilogram of body weight per day; give it three or four divided doses. Doses depend upon the condition of treatment.
Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)
Due to the non-usual functioning of kidneys and liver in older adults, the doctor may start with a lower dose or a different dosing schedule. It can help in maintaining the levels of this drug from building up too much in the body.
Decrease the dosage slowly over time while stopping treatment. It helps in preventing withdrawal symptoms.
Take Dexamethasone according to the doctor’s prescription. Follow all the directions on your medical prescription label. Your doctor may change your dosage, use the medicine exactly as directed.
There might be a change in your dosage due to illness, stress, surgery, or medical emergency.
Inform the doctor who treats you about your intake of this medicine because it can affect specific medical tests.
Wear or carry medical identification using this medicine in case of emergency.
Store it at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
How do Dexamethasone works?
Dexamethasone is commonly a treatment for croup in children as it works as a single dose can reduce swelling of the airway to minimize discomfort and improve breathing.
Its working and effects are frequently visible within a day and last for about three days.
There are various brands and forms of Dexamethasone. This medicine’s long-term use may result in thrush, cataracts, boneless, easy bruising, or muscle weakness.
What to know before using Dexamethasone?
You might not use this medicine if you are allergic to it or have fungal reactions anywhere in your body.
Inform your doctor if you ever had:
- Cirrhosis (a liver disease)
- A thyroid disorder
- A muscle disorder (such as myasthenia gravis)
- Diabetes (fair chances of increased glucose level in blood or urine because of steroid medicine)
- Glaucoma or cataracts
- Herpes infection of the eyes
- Ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, stomach ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease
- Depression or mental illness
- Congestive heart failure
- High blood pressure
Steroid medication affects the immune system. You may quickly get infections. It can worsen or reactive an ailment you have already had. Don’t forget to inform the doctor about any prior illness or disease.
Tell your doctor about your pregnancy or plan to become pregnant before using this medicine as it may harm the baby. Ask the doctor about breastfeeding while using Dexamethasone as it might be harmful to the baby.
Avoid drinking alcohol while taking this medicine.
Call your doctor for preventive treatment while exposed to chickenpox and measles. Avoid taking vaccines while using this medicine.
Dexamethasone side effects
In case you find signs of allergic reactions due to the use of Dexamethasone, get emergency medical help. The allergic reactions include hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call for medical help if you have:
- Muscle tightness, limp feeling, or weakness
- Eye pain, blurred vision, tunnel vision, or seeing halos around lights
- Breath shortness, swelling, rapid weight gain
- Unusual thoughts or behavior, severe depression
- Coughing up blood, bloody or tarry stools
- Weak pulse, slow or fast heart
- Pancreatitis (nausea, vomiting, and severe pain in upper stomach spreading to back)
- A low potassium level that leads to leg cramps, constipation, fluttering in the chest, irregular heartbeats, increase in thirst or urination, numbness or tingling
- Increased blood pressure, severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in neck or ears, anxiety, and nosebleed.
Dexamethasone affects growth in children. Consult your doctor if your child is not growing at an average rate while using this medicine
Standard dexamethasone side effects include:
- Retention in fluids (swelling in hands or ankles)
- Increase in appetite
- Mood swings
- Trouble in sleeping
- Bruising or discoloration, skin rash
- Acne, increase in sweating, and hair growth.
- Dizziness, headache
- Nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach
- Changes in menstrual period
- Changes in the location or shape of the body fat
Call a doctor for medical advice if you receive any other side effects. Please report it to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.