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Dexamethasone (By mouth)

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

Treats inflammation, severe allergies, flare-ups of ongoing illnesses, and many other medical problems. May also be used to decrease some symptoms of cancer, including multiple myeloma. This medicine is a corticosteroid.

Brand Name(s):

Decadron, DexPak, DexPak 10 Day TaperPak, DexPak 13 Day TaperPak, DexPak 6 Day TaperPak, Dexamethasone Intensol, Dxevo, HiDex, TaperDex, TaperDex 7-Day

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to dexamethasone, or if you have a fungal infection.

How to Use This Medicine:

Liquid, Tablet

  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you. If you are using this medicine for an ongoing illness, your dose may need to be changed occasionally.
  • It is best to take this medicine with food or milk.
  • Hemady™: May be taken with or without food.
  • Oral liquid: Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • Missed dose:
    • 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.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container 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.

  • Some medicines can affect how dexamethasone works. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • Aminoglutethimide, aprepitant, carbamazepine, carfilzomib, cholestyramine, cobicistat, cyclosporine, digitalis, digoxin, ephedrine, indinavir, indomethacin, lenalidomide, pancuronium, phenobarbital, phenytoin, pomalidomide, ritonavir, thalidomide
    • Birth control pills (including estrogen)
    • Blood thinner (including warfarin)
    • Diuretic (water pill)
    • Insulin and oral diabetes medicine
    • Medicine to treat an infection (including amphotericin B, azithromycin, clarithromycin, erythromycin, isoniazid, itraconazole, ketoconazole, rifampin)
    • NSAID pain or arthritis medicine (including aspirin, celecoxib, diclofenac, naproxen)
    • Potassium supplement
  • This medicine may interfere with vaccines. Ask your doctor before you get a flu shot or any other vaccines.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Using Hemady™ while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant during treatment and for 1 month after your last dose. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Do not breastfeed during treatment with Hemady™ and for 2 weeks after your last dose.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease (including cirrhosis), adrenal gland problems, blood clots, diabetes, eye or vision problems, heart failure, high blood pressure, myasthenia gravis, osteoporosis, stomach or bowel problems (including ulcer, diverticulitis), thyroid problems, depression, mental health problems, or a recent heart attack.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • High blood pressure
    • Eye or vision problems (including cataracts or glaucoma), with long-term use
    • Increased risk for cancer (including Kaposi's sarcoma)
    • Adrenal gland problems
    • Stomach or bowel perforation (tear or hole)
    • Bone problems (including osteoporosis)
    • Muscle problems
    • Slow growth in children
    • Changes in mood or behavior
  • This medicine could cause you to get infections more easily. Tell your doctor right away if you have any type of infection (including herpes eye infection, tuberculosis, or threadworm) or a recent exposure to chickenpox or measles. Tell your doctor if you have an infection that keeps coming back.
  • If you use this medicine for a long time, tell your doctor about any extra stress or anxiety in your life, including other health concerns and emotional stress. Your dose might need to be changed for a short time while you have extra stress.
  • Talk with your doctor before using this medicine if you plan to have children. Some men who is taking Hemady™ have become infertile (unable to have children).
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly. Your doctor will need to slowly decrease your dose before you stop it completely.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect certain medical test results.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

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
  • Blurred vision or other changes in vision, trouble seeing, eye pain
  • Bone pain, decrease in height
  • Chest pain, trouble breathing, coughing up blood
  • Dark freckles, skin color changes, coldness, weakness, tiredness, weight loss
  • Depression, unusual thoughts, feelings, or behaviors, trouble sleeping
  • 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
  • Skin changes or growths
  • Unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising

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: 3/19/2020

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