This medication is used to treat various conditions such as severe allergic reactions, arthritis, blood diseases, breathing problems, certain cancers, eye diseases, intestinal disorders, and skin diseases. It is also used to test for an adrenal gland disorder (Cushing's syndrome). It decreases your body's natural defensive response and reduces symptoms such as swelling and allergic-type reactions. Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid hormone (glucocorticoid). This injectable form of dexamethasone is used when a similar drug cannot be taken by mouth or when a very fast response is needed, especially in patients with severe medical conditions. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of dexamethasone, especially if it is to be injected near your spine (epidural). Rare but serious side effects may occur with epidural use.
This drug may also be used with other medications as a replacement for certain hormones.
OTHER USES: This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
This medication is given by injection into a vein , muscle, joint, or skin wound as directed by your doctor. Follow your doctor's directions carefully. Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often than prescribed without consulting your doctor. Some patients (especially newborns) should receive the preservative-free form of this drug. In these patients, when mixing this form of the drug, be sure to use IV fluid that is also preservative-free. Use these mixtures within 24 hours.
If this medication is injected into a joint, be careful how much pressure you put on that joint, even if it is feeling better. Ask your doctor how much you can move/use the joint while it is healing.
If you have been using this medication for a long time, do not suddenly stop using it without your doctor's approval. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased to reduce symptoms such as weakness, weight loss, nausea, or extreme tiredness.
If you are giving this medication to yourself at home, learn all preparation and usage instructions from your health care professional. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
Stomach upset, headache, dizziness, menstrual period changes, trouble sleeping, increased appetite, weight gain, or pain/redness/swelling at the injection site may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: bone/joint pain, easy bruising/bleeding, black stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, severe stomach/abdominal pain, increased thirst/urination, fast/slow/pounding/irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles/feet, tendon pain, persistent weight gain, puffy face, unusual hair growth, thinning skin, slow wound healing, signs of infection (e.g., persistent fever/cough/sore throat, painful urination, eye pain/discharge), muscle weakness/pain, mental/mood changes (e.g., mood swings, depression, agitation), vision changes, seizures, unusual skin growths.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using dexamethasone, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as sulfites), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: current fungal infections.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: other infections (e.g., tuberculosis, herpes, cerebral malaria, threadworm), blood clots, brittle bones (osteoporosis), high blood pressure, asthma, heart problems (e.g., congestive heart failure, recent heart attack), diabetes, eye diseases (e.g., cataracts, glaucoma, herpes infection of the eye), kidney disease, severe liver disease (cirrhosis), mental/mood conditions (e.g., psychosis, anxiety, depression), seizures, stomach/intestinal problems (e.g., diverticulitis, ulcer, ulcerative colitis), thyroid problems, untreated mineral problems (e.g., low potassium/calcium).
This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely.
This medication may mask signs of infection or put you at greater risk of developing very serious infections. Report to your doctor any injuries or signs of infection (e.g., persistent sore throat/cough/fever, pain during urination, muscle aches) that occur while using this medication or within 12 months after stopping it.
Using corticosteroid medications for a long time can make it more difficult for your body to respond to physical stress. Therefore, before having surgery or emergency treatment, or if you get a serious illness/injury, tell your doctor or dentist that you are using this medication or have used this medication within the past 12 months. Tell your doctor right away if you develop unusual/extreme tiredness or weight loss. If you will be using this medication for a long time, carry a warning card or medical ID bracelet that identifies your use of this medication.
Do not have immunizations, vaccinations, or skin tests unless specifically directed by your doctor. Live vaccines may cause serious problems (e.g., infection) if given while you are using this medication. Avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine or flu vaccine inhaled through the nose.
Avoid contact with people who have chickenpox or measles unless you have previously had these diseases (e.g., in childhood). If you are exposed to one of these infections and you have not previously had it, seek immediate medical attention.
If you have a history of ulcers, or if you take large doses of aspirin or other arthritis medication, limit alcoholic beverages while using this medication to decrease the risk of stomach/intestinal bleeding. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
If you have diabetes, this drug may increase your blood sugar levels. Check your blood glucose levels regularly as directed by your doctor. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as increased thirst and urination. Your anti-diabetic medication or diet may need to be adjusted.
Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to its side effects, especially osteoporosis. Talk with your doctor about ways to prevent bone loss.
This medication may slow down a child's growth if used for a long time. Consult the doctor or pharmacist for more details. See the doctor regularly so your child's height and growth can be checked.
This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. There have been rare reports of harm to an unborn baby when corticosteroids are used during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Infants born to mothers who have been using this medication for an extended time may have low levels of corticosteroid hormone. Tell your doctor right away if you notice symptoms such as persistent nausea/vomiting, severe diarrhea, or weakness in your newborn.
It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. However, similar drugs pass into breast milk and are unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast- feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: aminoglutethimide, birth control pills/patch/ring, caspofungin, cobicistat, cyclosporine, certain cancer drugs (dasatinib, lapatinib, sunitinib, aldesleukin), digoxin, elvitegravir, drugs that can cause bleeding/bruising (including antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel, "blood thinners" such as dabigatran/warfarin, NSAIDs such as aspirin/celecoxib/ibuprofen), ephedrine, estrogen hormone replacement, HIV protease inhibitors (such as indinavir), isoniazid, mifepristone, rilpivirine, thalidomide.
Other medications can affect the removal of dexamethasone from your body, which may affect how dexamethasone works. Examples include azole antifungals (such as ketoconazole), barbiturates (such as phenobarbital), rifamycins (such as rifampin), certain medications used to treat seizures (such as phenytoin, carbamazepine), among others.
If your doctor has directed you to take low-dose aspirin for heart attack or stroke prevention (usually at dosages of 81-325 milligrams a day), you should continue taking it unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including skin tests), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., blood counts, blood glucose/mineral levels, blood pressure, bone density tests, height/weight measurements, eye examinations, X-rays) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects during long-term treatment. Consult your doctor for more details.
Lifestyle changes that help reduce the risk of bone loss (osteoporosis) during long-term treatment include doing weight-bearing exercise, getting adequate calcium and vitamin D, stopping smoking, and limiting alcohol. Talk with your doctor about lifestyle changes that might benefit you.
If you use this medication for prolonged periods, you should wear or carry identification stating that you are using it.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Consult the product instructions and your pharmacist for storage details. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised December 2015. Copyright(c) 2015 First Databank, Inc.
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