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dexamethasone (injection)

Pronunciation: DEX a METH a sone

Brand: Cortastat, Cortastat 10, Cortastat LA, De-Sone LA, Dexacen-4, Dexasone, Dexasone LA, Solurex, Solurex LA

What is the most important information I should know about dexamethasone?

Multum donot

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to dexamethasone or sulfites, or if you have a fungal infection anywhere in your body.

Before using dexamethasone, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions, and about all other medicines you are using. There are many other diseases that can be affected by steroid use, and many other medicines that can interact with steroids.

Your steroid medication needs may change if you have any unusual stress such as a serious illness, fever or infection, or if you have surgery or a medical emergency. Tell your doctor about any such situation that affects you during treatment.

Avoid activities that place too much stress on your joints. Dexamethasone can decrease pain and swelling, and you may be tempted to increase your activity if you are feeling better. Any joint damage may go unnoticed while you are being treated with dexamethasone.

Steroid medication can weaken your immune system, making it easier for you to get an infection or worsening an infection you already have or have recently had. Tell your doctor about any illness or infection you have had within the past several weeks.

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Call your doctor for preventive treatment if you are exposed to chicken pox or measles. These conditions can be serious or even fatal in people who are using steroid medication.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while you are being treated with dexamethasone. Vaccines may not work as well while you are using a steroid. Ask your doctor when you can safely receive a live vaccine after your dexamethasone treatment ends.

What is dexamethasone?

Dexamethasone is in a class of drugs called steroids. Dexamethasone prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation.

Dexamethasone is used to treat many different conditions such as allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, breathing disorders, inflammatory eye conditions, blood cell disorders, leukemia, or endocrine disorders.

Dexamethasone may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using dexamethasone?

Multum donot

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to dexamethasone or sulfites, or if you have a fungal infection anywhere in your body.

Steroid medication can weaken your immune system, making it easier for you to get an infection. Steroids can also worsen an infection you already have, or reactivate an infection you recently had. Before using this medication, tell your doctor about any illness or infection you have had within the past several weeks.

Other medical conditions you should tell your doctor about before using dexamethasone include:

  • asthma;
  • liver disease (such as cirrhosis);
  • kidney disease;
  • a thyroid disorder;
  • a history of malaria;
  • osteoporosis;
  • a muscle disorder such as myasthenia gravis;
  • glaucoma or cataracts;
  • herpes simplex infection of the eyes;
  • stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, or diverticulitis;
  • depression or mental illness;
  • congestive heart failure;
  • high blood pressure; or
  • if you have recently had a heart attack.

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use dexamethasone.

Multum nopreg

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Multum nobrfeed

Dexamethasone can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Steroids can affect growth in children. Talk with your doctor if you think your child is not growing at a normal rate while using this medication.

How is dexamethasone injection given?

Dexamethasone is given as an injection into a muscle or through a needle placed into a vein. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.

Your steroid medication needs may change if you have unusual stress such as a serious illness, fever or infection, or if you have surgery or a medical emergency. Tell your doctor about any such situation that affects you.

This medication can cause you to have unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using dexamethasone.

Multum donot

Dexamethasone injection is usually given for only a few days. After your treatment ends, you may have withdrawal symptoms such as fever, weakness, and joint or muscle pain. Talk to your doctor about how to treat or avoid any withdrawal symptoms.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since dexamethasone injection is given as needed by a healthcare professional, it is not likely that you will miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Multum emt

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have received too much of this medicine.

A single large dose of dexamethasone is not expected to produce life-threatening symptoms. However, long-term use of high steroid doses can lead to symptoms such as thinning skin, easy bruising, changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your face, neck, back, and waist), increased acne or facial hair, menstrual problems, impotence, or loss of interest in sex.

What should I avoid after receiving dexamethasone?

Avoid activities that place too much stress on your joints. Dexamethasone can decrease pain and swelling, and you may be tempted to increase your activity if you are feeling better. Any joint damage may go unnoticed while you are being treated with dexamethasone.

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Call your doctor for preventive treatment if you are exposed to chicken pox or measles. These conditions can be serious or even fatal in people who are using steroid medication.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while you are being treated with dexamethasone. Vaccines may not work as well while you are using a steroid. Ask your doctor when you can safely receive a live vaccine after your dexamethasone treatment ends.

What are the possible side effects of dexamethasone?

Multum emt

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Multum emt

Tell your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • problems with your vision;
  • swelling, rapid weight gain, feeling short of breath;
  • severe depression, unusual thoughts or behavior, seizure (convulsions);
  • bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood;
  • pancreatitis (severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate);
  • low potassium (confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, increased urination, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling); or
  • dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • sleep problems (insomnia), mood changes;
  • acne, dry skin, thinning skin, bruising or discoloration;
  • slow wound healing;
  • increased sweating;
  • headache, dizziness, spinning sensation;
  • nausea, stomach pain, bloating; or
  • changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect dexamethasone?

There are many other medicines that can interact with steroids. Below is only a partial list of these medicines:

  • aspirin (taken on a daily basis or at high doses);
  • a diuretic (water pill);
  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin);
  • diet pills, or cough and cold medications;
  • indomethacin (Indocin); or
  • seizure medications such as phenytoin (Dilantin) or phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton).

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with dexamethasone. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about dexamethasone.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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