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Dexamethasone Oral tablet

What is this medicine?

DEXAMETHASONE (dex a METH a sone) is a corticosteroid. It is commonly used to treat inflammation of the skin, joints, lungs, and other organs. Common conditions treated include asthma, allergies, and arthritis. It is also used for other conditions, such as blood disorders and diseases of the adrenal glands.

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a drink of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take it with food or milk to avoid stomach upset. If you are taking this medicine once a day, take it in the morning. Do not take more medicine than you are told to take. Do not suddenly stop taking your medicine because you may develop a severe reaction. Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to take. If your doctor wants you to stop the medicine, the dose may be slowly lowered over time to avoid any side effects.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

Patients over 65 years old may have a stronger reaction and need a smaller dose.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

  • changes in vision

  • fever, sore throat, sneezing, cough, or other signs of infection, wounds that will not heal

  • increased thirst

  • mental depression, mood swings, mistaken feelings of self importance or of being mistreated

  • pain in hips, back, ribs, arms, shoulders, or legs

  • redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth

  • trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine

  • swelling of feet or lower legs

  • unusual bleeding or bruising

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • headache

  • nausea, vomiting

  • skin problems, acne, thin and shiny skin

  • weight gain

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:

  • mifepristone, RU-486

  • vaccines

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • amphotericin B

  • antibiotics like clarithromycin, erythromycin, and troleandomycin

  • aspirin and aspirin-like drugs

  • barbiturates like phenobarbital

  • carbamazepine

  • cholestyramine

  • cholinesterase inhibitors like donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine, and tacrine

  • cyclosporine

  • digoxin

  • diuretics

  • ephedrine

  • female hormones, like estrogens or progestins and birth control pills

  • indinavir

  • isoniazid

  • ketoconazole

  • medicines for diabetes

  • medicines that improve muscle tone or strength for conditions like myasthenia gravis

  • NSAIDs, medicines for pain and inflammation, like ibuprofen or naproxen

  • phenytoin

  • rifampin

  • thalidomide

  • warfarin

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, talk to your doctor or health care professional. You may need to miss a dose or take an extra dose. Do not take double or extra doses without advice.

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Protect from light. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • Cushing's syndrome

  • diabetes

  • glaucoma

  • heart problems or disease

  • high blood pressure

  • infection like herpes, measles, tuberculosis, or chickenpox

  • kidney disease

  • liver disease

  • mental problems

  • myasthenia gravis

  • osteoporosis

  • previous heart attack

  • seizures

  • stomach, ulcer or intestine disease including colitis and diverticulitis

  • thyroid problem

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to dexamethasone, corticosteroids, other medicines, lactose, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. If you are taking this medicine over a prolonged period, carry an identification card with your name and address, the type and dose of your medicine, and your doctor's name and address.

This medicine may increase your risk of getting an infection. Stay away from people who are sick. Tell your doctor or health care professional if you are around anyone with measles or chickenpox.

If you are going to have surgery, tell your doctor or health care professional that you have taken this medicine within the last twelve months.

Ask your doctor or health care professional about your diet. You may need to lower the amount of salt you eat.

The medicine can increase your blood sugar. If you are a diabetic check with your doctor if you need help adjusting the dose of your diabetic medicine.

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Last Review Date: 4/9/2009
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.