dexamethasone (oral)

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Pronunciation: dex a METH a sone

Brand: Baycadron, Dexamethasone Intensol, DexPak 10 Day Taperpak, DexPak 13 DayTaperpak, DexPak 6 DayTaperpak

Decadron 4 mg

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pentagonal, white, imprinted with MSD 97, DECADRON

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Dexamethasone 0.5 mg-PAR

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pentagonal, yellow, imprinted with par 084

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Dexamethasone 0.5 mg-ROX

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round, yellow, imprinted with 54 299

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Dexamethasone 0.75 mg-PAR

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pentagonal, blue, imprinted with par 085

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Dexamethasone 0.75 mg-ROX

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round, blue, imprinted with 54 960

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Dexamethasone 1 mg-ROX

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round, yellow, imprinted with 54 489

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Dexamethasone 1.5 mg-ROX

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round, pink, imprinted with 54 943

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Dexamethasone 2mg-ROX

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round, white, imprinted with 54 662

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Dexamethasone 4 mg-PAR

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pentagonal, white, imprinted with par 097

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Dexamethasone 4 mg-ROX

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round, green, imprinted with 54 892

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Dexamethasone 6 mg-PAR

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pentagonal, green, imprinted with PAR 129

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Dexamethasone 6 mg-ROX

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round, turquoise, imprinted with 54 769

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

You should not use this medicine if you have a fungal infection anywhere in your body.

Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, and all the 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.

What is dexamethasone?

Dexamethasone is a steroid that 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, or breathing disorders.

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

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

You should not use dexamethasone if you are allergic to it, 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 taking this medication, tell your doctor about any illness or infection you have had within the past several weeks.

To make sure dexamethasone is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • liver disease (such as cirrhosis);
  • kidney disease;
  • a thyroid disorder;
  • a history of malaria;
  • tuberculosis;
  • osteoporosis;
  • a muscle disorder such as myasthenia gravis;
  • glaucoma or cataracts;
  • herpes infection of the eyes;
  • stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease;
  • depression or mental illness;
  • congestive heart failure; or
  • high blood pressure.

Also tell your doctor if you have diabetes. Steroid medicines may increase the glucose (sugar) levels in your blood or urine. You may also need to adjust the dose of your diabetes medications.

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Dexamethasone can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Steroids can affect growth in children. Tell your doctor if your child is not growing at a normal rate while using this medicine.

How should I take dexamethasone?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Your dose 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 unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using dexamethasone.

Do not stop using dexamethasone suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.

Wear a medical alert tag or carry an ID card stating that you take dexamethasone. Any medical care provider who treats you should know that you are using steroid medication.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose of dexamethasone.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

An overdose 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 while taking 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 using dexamethasone. The vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), polio, rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.

Avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking dexamethasone.

What are the possible side effects of dexamethasone?

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

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • muscle tightness, weakness, or limp feeling;
  • problems with your vision;
  • shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling, rapid weight gain;
  • severe depression, unusual thoughts or behavior;
  • a seizure (convulsions);
  • bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood;
  • lower back pain, blood in your urine, little or no urination;
  • confusion, numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth;
  • fast or slow heart rate, weak pulse;
  • a pancreas disorder --severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate;
  • low potassium --leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, increased thirst or urination, numbness or tingling; or
  • dangerously high blood pressure --severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears, nosebleed, anxiety.

Common side effects may include:

  • fluid retention (swelling in your hands or ankles);
  • sleep problems (insomnia), mood changes;
  • acne, dry skin, thinning skin, bruising or discoloration;
  • slow wound healing;
  • increased sweating, increased hair growth;
  • 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).

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.

What other drugs will affect dexamethasone?

Many drugs can interact with dexamethasone. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

  • aspirin (taken on a daily basis or at high doses);
  • cyclosporine;
  • digoxin;
  • an antibiotic such as erythromycin or rifampin;
  • antifungal medicine such as ketoconazole;
  • birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy;
  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven);
  • a diuretic (water pill);
  • glaucoma medication;
  • insulin or diabetes medications you take by mouth;
  • medicine to treat dementia or Parkinson's disease;
  • an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib, meloxicam, and others; or
  • seizure medications such as carbamazepine, phenytoin, or phenobarbital.

This list is not complete and many other drugs can interact with dexamethasone. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Give a list of all your medicines to any healthcare provider who treats you.

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.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

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