Betamethasone is a corticosteroid hormone (glucocorticoid). It decreases your body's natural defensive response and reduces symptoms such as swelling and allergic-type reactions.
Take this medication by mouth with food or milk to prevent stomach upset. Use a medication-measuring device to carefully measure the prescribed dose. Do not use a household spoon. If you take this medication once daily, take it in the morning before 9 AM. If you are taking this medication every other day or on another schedule besides a daily one, it may help to mark your calendar with a reminder.
The dosage and length of treatment are based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Follow the dosing schedule carefully, and take this medication exactly as prescribed.
Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.
Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify 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 immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: black stools, bone/joint pain, easy bruising/bleeding, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, increased thirst/urination, mental/mood changes (e.g., depression, mood swings, agitation), muscle pain, persistent weight gain, puffy face, slow wound healing, seizures, signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat), stomach/abdominal pain, swelling of the ankles/feet, thinning skin, trouble breathing, unusual hair growth, unusual skin growths, vision changes, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, weakness.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: 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.
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 taking betamethasone, 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, 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: untreated active fungal infections.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: bleeding problems, history of blood clots, brittle bones (osteoporosis), diabetes, eye diseases (e.g., cataracts, glaucoma, herpes infection of the eye), heart problems (e.g., congestive heart failure), high blood pressure, other infections (e.g., tuberculosis, herpes, threadworm), kidney disease, liver problems (e.g., cirrhosis), mental/mood conditions (e.g., psychosis, anxiety, depression), low blood minerals (e.g., low potassium or calcium), stomach/intestinal problems (e.g., ulcer, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis), thyroid problems.
This medication may mask signs of infection or put you at greater risk of developing very serious infections. Report any injuries or signs of infection (e.g., persistent sore throat/fever/cough, pain during urination, muscle aches) that occur during treatment.
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 complications (e.g., infection) if given while you are taking 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 take large doses of aspirin or other arthritis medication, limit alcoholic beverages while taking this medication to decrease the risk of stomach/intestinal bleeding.
If you have diabetes, this drug may make it harder to control your blood sugar levels. Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and inform your doctor of the results. Your medicine, exercise plan, or diet may need to be adjusted.
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. Limit alcoholic beverages.
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 the unborn baby. 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 immediately if you notice symptoms such as persistent nausea/vomiting, severe diarrhea, or weakness in your newborn.
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Your healthcare professionals (e.g., doctor or pharmacist) may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for it. Do not start, stop or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially: aldesleukin, mifepristone, birth control pills, diabetes medications, estrogen hormone replacement, drugs that can cause bleeding/bruising (including antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel, "blood thinners" such as dabigatran/warfarin, NSAIDs such as aspirin/celecoxib/ibuprofen), drugs affecting liver enzymes that remove betamethasone from your body (such as azole antifungals including ketoconazole, barbiturates including phenobarbital, rifamycins including rifampin, certain anti-seizure medications including phenytoin).
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, possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. 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.
If this medication is used for an extended time, laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., blood sugar/mineral levels, blood pressure, eye exams) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
Lifestyle changes that may help reduce the risk of brittle bones (osteoporosis) while taking this drug for an extended time include doing weight-bearing exercise, stopping smoking, getting enough calcium and vitamin D, and limiting alcohol. Discuss with your doctor lifestyle changes that might benefit you.
If you take this medication for long-term treatment, wear or carry identification stating that you are using it. (See also Medical Alert section.)
If you are taking this medication once daily and miss a dose, take 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.
Ask your doctor ahead of time what you should do if you miss a dose while taking this medication every other day or on another schedule besides a daily one.
Store at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not freeze. Discard medication that has been frozen. Keep all medicines 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 for more details about how to safely discard your product.
MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised April 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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