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Dexamethasone (By mouth)

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

Treats inflammation and many other medical problems. This medicine is a corticosteroid.

Brand Name(s):

Baycadron Elixir, DexPak, DexPak 10 Day TaperPak, DexPak 13 Day TaperPak, DexPak 6 Day TaperPak, Dexamethasone Intensol, Dexpak

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to dexamethasone or if you have a fungal infection.

How to Use This Medicine:

Tablet, Liquid

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • Take your medicine with food to reduce stomach upset.
  • Measure the oral liquid medicine using the dropper that came with it, or use a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can.
  • If your schedule is one dose every other day and you cannot use the missed dose until late in the day, wait until the next morning to use your medicine. Then skip a day and go back to your regular schedule.
  • If your schedule is one dose every day, use the missed dose as soon as you can. Then go back to your regular schedule.
  • If your schedule is more than one dose every day, use the missed dose as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, use two doses at that time. Then go back to your regular schedule.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

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

  • Avoid drinking alcohol while you are using dexamethasone.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using blood thinners (Coumadin®), diuretics (water pills), ephedrine, insulin, phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin®), potassium supplements, rifampin, or Tegretol®.
  • Talk to your doctor before getting flu shots or other vaccines while using dexamethasone. Vaccines may not work as well while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk with your doctor before using this medicine.
  • This medicine may cause problems if you have certain medical conditions. Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies, medical problems, or mental conditions you now have or have had in the past.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to use less and less before stopping it completely.
  • Let your doctor know if you have any events causing unusual stress or anxiety in your life. Your dose of this medicine may need to be changed.
  • It may be easier for you to get an infection while you are receiving dexamethasone. Avoid people who are sick or have infections. If you are exposed to chickenpox or measles, tell your doctor right away.
  • Carefully follow any diet instructions your doctor gives you while you are using dexamethasone.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using dexamethasone.
  • Your doctor may need to check you at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly. Keep all your appointments.

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, sudden swelling in face or hands, swelling or tingling in the mouth or throat, tightness in chest, trouble breathing
  • Black or tarry stools
  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • Headache or blurred vision
  • Increased urination or thirst
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Pain or swelling in stomach or abdomen
  • Unexplained fever, sore throat

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

  • Easy bruising, small purple spots on your skin
  • Increased hair growth
  • Increased sweating
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Mood changes or trouble sleeping
  • Swelling in the hands, arms, legs, or feet
  • Thinning skin
  • Weight gain

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: 8/4/2014


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