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The following adverse reactions have been reported with dexamethasone or other corticosteroids:
Bradycardia, cardiac arrest, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac enlargement, circulatory collapse, congestive heart failure, fat embolism, hypertension, hyper-trophic cardiomyopathy in premature infants, myocardial rupture following recent myocardial infarction (see WARNINGS: Cardio-Renal), edema, pulmonary edema, syncope, tachycardia, thromboembolism, thrombophlebitis, vasculitis.
Acne, allergic dermatitis, dry scaly skin, ecchymoses and petechiae, erythema, impaired wound healing, increased sweating, rash, striae, suppression of reactions to skin tests, thin fragile skin, thinning scalp hair, urticaria.
Decreased carbohydrate and glucose tolerance, development of cushingoid state, hyperglycemia, glycosuria, hirsutism, hypertrichosis, increased requirements for insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents in diabetes, manifestations of latent diabetes mellitus, menstrual irregularities, secondary adrenocor-tical and pituitary unresponsiveness (particularly in times of stress, as in trauma, surgery, or illness), suppression of growth in pediatric patients.
Fluid and Electrolyte Disturbances
Abdominal distention, elevation in serum liver enzyme levels (usually reversible upon discontinuation), hepatomegaly, increased appetite, nausea, pan-creatitis, peptic ulcer with possible perforation and hemorrhage, perforation of the small and large intestine (particularly in patients with inflammatory bowel disease), ulcerative esophagitis.
Aseptic necrosis of femoral and humeral heads, loss of muscle mass, muscle weakness, osteoporosis, pathologic fracture of long bones, steroid myopathy, tendon rupture, vertebral compression fractures.
Convulsions, depression, emotional instability, euphoria, headache, increased intracranial pressure with papilledema (pseudotumor cerebri) usually following discontinuation of treatment, insomnia, mood swings, neuritis, neuropathy, paresthesia, personality changes, psychic disorders, vertigo.
Read the Dexamethasone (dexamethasone) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects
Aminoglutethimide: Aminoglutethimide may diminish adrenal suppression by corticosteroids.
Amphotericin B injection and potassium-depleting agents: When corticosteroids are administered concomitantly with potassium-depleting agents (e. g. , amphotericin B, diuretics), patients should be observed closely for development of hypokalemia. In addition, there have been cases reported in which concomitant use of amphotericin B and hydrocortisone was followed by cardiac enlargement and congestive heart failure.
Anticholinesterases: Concomitant use of anticholinesterase agents and corticosteroids may produce severe weakness in patients with myasthenia gravis. If possible, anticholinesterase agents should be withdrawn at least 24 hours before initiating corticosteroid therapy.
Anticoagulants, Oral: Co-administration of corticosteroids and warfarin usually results in inhibition of response to warfarin, although there have been some conflicting reports. Therefore, coagulation indices should be monitored frequently to maintain the desired anticoagulant effect.
Antidiabetics: Because corticosteroids may increase blood glucose concentrations, dosage adjustments of antidiabetic agents may be required.
Antitubercular Drugs: Serum concentrations of isoniazid may be decreased.
Cholestyramine: Cholestyramine may increase the clearance of corticosteroids.
Cyclosporine: Increased activity of both cyclosporine and corticosteroids may occur when the two are used concurrently. Convulsions have been reported with this concurrent use.
Dexamethasone Suppression Test (DST): False-negative results in the dexamethasone suppression test (DST) in patients being treated with indomethacin have been reported. Thus, results of the DST should be interpreted with caution in these patients.
Digitalis Glycosides: Patients on digitalis glycosides may be at increased risk of arrhythmias due to hypokalemia.
Ephedrine: Ephedrine may enhance the metabolic clearance of corticosteroids, resulting in decreased blood levels and lessened physiologic activity, thus requiring an increase in corticosteroid dosage.
Estrogens, including Oral Contraceptives: Estrogens may decrease the hepatic metabolism of certain corticosteroids, thereby increasing their effect.
Hepatic Enzyme Inducers, Inhibitors and Substrates: Drugs which induce cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP 3A4) enzyme activity (e. g. , barbiturates, pheny-toin, carbamazepine, rifampin) may enhance the metabolism of corticosteroids and require that the dosage of the corticosteroid be increased. Drugs which inhibit CYP 3A4 (e. g. , ketoconazole, macrolide antibiotics such as erythromycin) have the potential to result in increased plasma concentrations of corti-costeroids. Dexamethasone is a moderate inducer of CYP 3A4. Co-adminstration with other drugs that are metabolized by CYP 3A4 (e. g. , indinavir, eryth-romycin) may increase their clearance, resulting in decreased plasma concentration.
Ketoconazole: Ketoconazole has been reported to decrease the metabolism of certain corticosteroids by up to 60%, leading to increased risk of corti-costeroid side effects. In addition, ketoconazole alone can inhibit adrenal corticosteroid synthesis and may cause adrenal insufficiency during corticos-teroid withdrawal.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Agents (NSAIDS): Concomitant use of aspirin (or other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents) and corticosteroids increases the risk of gastrointestinal side effects. Aspirin should be used cautiously in conjunction with corticosteroids in hypoprothrombinemia. The clearance of salicylates may be increased with concurrent use of corticosteroids.
Phenytoin: In post-marketing experience, there have been reports of both increases and decreases in phenytoin levels with dexamethasone co-administration, leading to alterations in seizure control.
Skin Tests: Corticosteroids may suppress reactions to skin tests.
Thalidomide: Co-administration with thalidomide should be employed cautiously, as toxic epidermal necrolysis has been reported with concomitant use.
Vaccines: Patients on corticosteroid therapy may exhibit a diminished response to toxoids and live or inactivated vaccines due to inhibition of antibody response. Corticosteroids may also potentiate the replication of some organisms contained in live attenuated vaccines. Routine administration of vaccines or toxoids should be deferred until corticosteroid therapy is discontinued if possible (see WARNINGS: Infections: Vaccination).
Last reviewed on RxList: 7/30/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Dexamethasone Information
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