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Why is this medication prescribed?
A corticosteroid called dexamethasone is comparable to a hormone your adrenal glands naturally generate. When your body cannot produce enough of this chemical, it is frequently utilised to replace it. It treats specific types of arthritis, skin, blood, kidney, eye, thyroid, and intestinal problems (including colitis), severe allergies, and asthma by reducing inflammation (swelling, heat, redness, and discomfort). There are several cancers that can be treated with dexamethasone.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you’re interested in using this drug for any other conditions.
How should this medicine be used?
Dexamethasone is available as a tablet and an oral solution. The ideal dosing regimen will be recommended by your doctor for you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Take dexamethasone as prescribed by your doctor. Never take it in larger or less amounts or more frequently than directed by your doctor.
Without consulting your doctor, do not discontinue taking dexamethasone. Loss of appetite, an upset stomach, vomiting, tiredness, disorientation, headaches, fevers, joint and muscle discomfort, peeling skin, and weight loss can all result from abruptly stopping the medicine. If you’ve been taking high amounts of a medication for a while, your doctor will likely gradually reduce your dosage to give your body time to adjust before totally quitting the medication. Even if you switch to an inhalation corticosteroid medicine, keep an eye out for these adverse effects if you are gradually lowering your dose and after you stop taking the tablets or oral liquid. If any of these issues arise, contact your doctor right once. You might need to temporarily up your dosage of tablets or liquid or begin taking them again.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking dexamethasone,
- Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you have any drug allergies, including those to dexamethasone, aspirin, tartrazine (a yellow food and medicine colouring), or other substances.
- Inform your doctor and pharmacist about all prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking, including anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, and rheumatoid arthritis medications, oral contraceptives, phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin), rifampin (Rifadin), theophylline (Theo-Dur), digoxin (Lanoxin), diuretics (‘water pills’), ephedrine, oestrogen (Premarin), ketoconazole (Nizoral), and vitamins.
- Do not take dexamethasone if you have a fungal infection (other than one that is skin-related) without first consulting your doctor.
- Inform your physician if you now or previously had any of the following conditions: myasthenia gravis, osteoporosis, herpes eye infection, seizures, TB, ulcers, liver, kidney, intestinal, or cardiac disease; diabetes; an underactive thyroid gland; high blood pressure; or any mental illness.
- Inform your doctor if you are expecting, intend to get pregnant, or are nursing a baby. Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking dexamethasone.
- Inform your doctor or dentist that you are taking dexamethasone if you are getting surgery, including dental surgery.
- Limit your alcohol intake while using this medication if you have a history of ulcers, take excessive doses of aspirin, or take any other arthritis medications. The chance of developing ulcers rises as a result of dexamethasone’s tendency to enhance your stomach and intestines’ susceptibility to the irritant effects of alcohol, aspirin, and several rheumatoid arthritis drugs.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Your doctor could advise you to eat a diet high in protein, low in sodium, low in salt, and rich in potassium. Observe these guidelines.
Stomach distress may be brought on by dexamethasone. Dexamethasone should be taken with meals or milk.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Ask your doctor what to do if you forget a dosage when you first start taking dexamethasone. Copy down these instructions so that you can refer to them later.
Take the missed dose of dexamethasone if you take it once daily as soon as you remember. If the next dose is soon due, skip the missed one and carry on with your regular dosing plan. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
There may be negative effects from dexamethasone. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:
- Uneasy stomach
- Stomach discomfort
- Higher hair growth
- Simple bruising
- Irregular or nonexistent menstruation
Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Skin rash
- Edoema in the face, lower legs, or ankles
- Eyesight problems
- Length of a persistent sickness or cold
- Muscle trembling
- Dark or sticky stools
You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online or by phone if you have a serious side event (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Keep it away from excessive heat and moisture at room temperature (not in the bathroom).
Although many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning. http://www.upandaway.org
Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your pharmacist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back programme, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medications website at http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p for additional information.
In case of emergency/overdose
Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Moreover, information can be found online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.
What other information should I know?
Keep all of your appointments with your physician and the lab. To determine how you are responding to dexamethasone, your doctor will request a few lab tests. Children should get checkups more frequently because dexamethasone can impede bone growth.
Call your doctor if your situation gets worse. You might need to change your dose.
Carry a card that states that you may need to take additional doses of dexamethasone when you are stressed out (note the whole dose you took before lowering it) (injuries, infections, and severe asthma attacks). Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to get this card. On the card, include your name, address, phone number, and a list of your health issues, medications and dosages, and doctor.
This medication increases your susceptibility to disease. Call your doctor if you contract measles, the chicken pox, or TB while taking dexamethasone. If you are taking dexamethasone, wait until your doctor says you can get a shot, another immunisation, or a skin test.
Describe any wounds or infections that develop while receiving treatment, including fever, sore throat, urine pain, and muscular aches.
You could be told by your doctor to weigh yourself every day. Any unusual weight increase must be reported.
Call your doctor if your sputum (the substance you cough up during an asthma episode) thickens or changes from clear white to yellow, green, or grey; these changes could be indicators of an infection.
Dexamethasone may raise your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. Test your blood or urine more frequently than normal if you monitor your blood sugar (glucose) at home. If your blood sugar is high or there is sugar in your urine, call your doctor right away. You may need to adjust your diet and the dosage of your diabetic medication.
No one else should take your medication. Any queries you may have regarding medication refills should be directed to your pharmacist.
You should keep a written record of every drug you take, including prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medications, vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements. Every time you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital, you should carry this list with you. Also, it is crucial to have this knowledge on hand in case of emergency.
- Dexamethasone Intensol®
- Dexpak® Taperpak®