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Dexamethasone (Injection)

Dexamethasone (dex-a-METH-a-sone)

Treats symptoms of several diseases and conditions. Also used to test for adrenal gland problems. This medicine is a corticosteroid.

Brand Name(s):

Cortastat, Cortastat 10, Cortastat LA, Dexasone L.A., NovaPlus Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. You should not receive it if you had an allergic reaction to dexamethasone or sulfites, or if you have a fungal infection.

How to Use This Medicine:

Injectable

  • Your doctor will prescribe your dose and schedule. This medicine is given as a shot into a muscle, a needle placed in a vein, or directly into a joint.
  • A nurse or other health provider will give you this medicine.
  • Missed dose: You must use this medicine on a fixed schedule. Call your doctor or pharmacist if you miss a dose.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some medicines can affect how dexamethasone works. Tell your doctor if you are also using any of the following:
    • Amphotericin B
    • Aspirin
    • Blood thinner, such as warfarin
    • Diuretic (water pill, such as spironolactone, triamterene)
    • Indomethacin
    • Phenytoin, phenobarbital
    • Rifampin
    • Thalidomide
  • This medicine may interfere with vaccines. Ask your doctor before you get a flu shot or any other vaccines.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney problems, liver disease, diabetes, glaucoma, herpes infection of the eye, asthma, allergies, osteoporosis, stomach or bowel problems, myasthenia gravis, or thyroid problems. Tell your doctor if you have high blood pressure or heart failure, or if you had a recent heart attack. Also tell your doctor if you have any type of infection or a history of depression or mental problems.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Mood or behavior changes
    • Higher blood pressure, retaining water, changes in salt or potassium levels in your body
    • Cataracts or glaucoma (with long-term use)
    • Bone loss (with long-term use)
    • Slow growth in children (with long-term use)
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly. Your doctor will need to slowly decrease your dose before you stop it completely.
  • This medicine could cause you to get infections more easily. Tell your doctor right away if you are exposed to chicken pox, measles, or any other serious infection. Tell your doctor if you had a serious infection in the past, such as tuberculosis.
  • Tell your doctor about any extra stress or anxiety in your life. Your dose might need to be changed for a short time.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect certain medical test results.
  • If this medicine is injected into one of your joints, follow your doctor's instructions about resting the joint, even if it feels better.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Dark freckles, skin changes, coldness, weakness, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, weight loss
  • Depression, unusual thoughts, feelings, or behaviors, trouble sleeping
  • Changes in vision, trouble seeing, eye pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, body aches
  • Rapid weight gain, swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • Severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or red or black stools
  • Worsened joint pain, swelling, or stiffness

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Round, puffy face
  • Weight gain around your neck, upper back, breast, face, or waist

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088


Last Updated: 11/4/2014
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