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Dexamethasone Side Effects: some basic knowledge you should know

Dexamethasone Side Effects: some basic knowledge you should know

Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid indicated for allergic states, dermatologic diseases, endocrine disorders, gastrointestinal diseases, hematologic disorders, neoplastic diseases, nervous system, ophthalmic diseases, renal diseases, respiratory diseases, and rheumatic disorders. Dexamethasone is available as a generic. Side effects of dexamethasone include:

    vision changes,
    swelling,
    rapid weight gain,
    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,
    muscle weakness, or
    changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist).

Rare instances of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) have occurred in patients receiving corticosteroid therapy such as dexamethasone.

Dexamethasone Tablets are available in 0.5, 0.75, 1, 1.5, 2, 4 and 6 mg strengths. The initial dosage for Dexamethasone varies from .75 to 9 mg a day depending on the disease being treated. Infants born to mothers who have received substantial doses of corticosteroids during pregnancy should be carefully observed for signs of hypoadrenalism. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from corticosteroids, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother. Use in pediatric patients is recommended to be done in consultation with a pediatric specialist.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


For the patients

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.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

    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;
    muscle weakness; or
    changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist).

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