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Decadron vs. Prednisone

Are Decadron and Prednisone the Same Thing?

Decadron (dexamethasone) and prednisone are corticosteroids used to treat arthritis, skin, blood, kidney, eye, thyroid, intestinal disorders, severe allergies, and asthma.

Decadron is also used to treat certain types of cancer and occasionally, cerebral edema.

The brand name Decadron is no longer available in the U.S; it may be available as a generic.

Brand names for prednisone include Deltasone, Rayos, and Prednisone Intensol.

Side effects of Decadron and prednisone that are similar include nausea, vomiting, headache, acne, trouble sleeping, or weight gain.

Side effects of Decadron that are different from prednisone include stomach upset, dizziness, skin rash, increased hair growth, irregular menstrual periods, increased appetite, easy bruising, anxiety, or depression.

Side effects of prednisone that are different from Decadron include thinning skin or restlessness.

Both Decadron and prednisone may interact with potassium-depleting agents (e.g., amphotericin B, diuretics), macrolide antibiotics, anticholinesterases, oral anticoagulants, antidiabetics, antitubercular drugs, cholestyramine, cyclosporine, digitalis glycosides, estrogens and oral contraceptives, barbiturates, seizure medications, rifampin, azole antifungals, aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), skin tests, thalidomide, and live or inactivated vaccines.

Decadron may also interact with aminoglutethimide, dexamethasone suppression tests (DST), or ephedrine.

Prednisone may also interact with bupropion, fluoroquinolones, ritonavir, indinavir, quetiapine, or thalidomide.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Decadron?

Common side effects of Decadron include:

  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • stomach upset,
  • headache,
  • dizziness,
  • acne,
  • skin rash,
  • increased hair growth,
  • irregular menstrual periods,
  • trouble sleeping,
  • increased appetite,
  • weight gain,
  • easy bruising,
  • anxiety, or
  • depression.

Side effects of Decadron (dexamethasone) listed above may become severe and include:

  • GI bleeding,
  • increased susceptibility to many types of infections, and
  • swelling.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Prednisone?

Common side effects of Prednisone include:

  • headache,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • acne, thinning skin,
  • weight gain,
  • restlessness, and
  • trouble sleeping.

Tell your doctor if you experience serious side effects of prednisone including

  • severe allergic reactions (skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of your lips/face/tongue),
  • mood changes or depression,
  • eye pain or vision changes,
  • fever,
  • cough,
  • sore throat,
  • difficulty urinating, or
  • high blood sugar (increased thirst, increased urination, confusion, or swelling of the ankles and feet).

What Is Decadron?

Decadron (dexamethasone) is a corticosteroid, similar to a natural hormone produced by the adrenal glands, used to treat arthritis, skin, blood, kidney, eye, thyroid, intestinal disorders, severe allergies, and asthma. Decadron is also used to treat certain types of cancer and occasionally, cerebral edema. The brand name Decadron is no longer available in the U.S; it may be available as a generic.

What Is Prednisone?

Prednisone is a glucocorticoid indicated to treat or manage many conditions, including endocrine disorders, rheumatic disorders, collagen diseases, dermatologic diseases, allergies, ophthalmic (eye) diseases, respiratory diseases, hematologic disorders, neoplastic diseases (cancers), edematous states, and gastrointestinal diseases. Prednisone tablets are available in generic form.

What Drugs Interact With Decadron?

Decadron may interact with aminoglutethimide, potassium-depleting agents (e.g., amphotericin B, diuretics), macrolide antibiotics, anticholinesterases, oral anticoagulants, antidiabetics, antitubercular drugs, cholestyramine, cyclosporine, dexamethasone suppression tests (DST), digitalis glycosides, ephedrine, estrogens and oral contraceptives, barbiturates, phenytoin, carbamazepine, rifampin, ketoconazole, aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), phenytoin, skin tests, thalidomide, and live or inactivated vaccines. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use and all vaccines you recently received. Decadron should be used during pregnancy or during breastfeeding only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus or infant. Infants may suffer adrenal suppression if their mothers use this drug during pregnancy. In special instances (for example, leukemia and nephrotic syndrome), Decadron has been used in pediatric patients. Such use should be done in most patients in conjunction with a pediatric specialist.

What Drugs Interact With Prednisone ?

Prednisone may interact with diuretics (water pills), blood thinners, cyclosporine, insulin or oral diabetes medications, rifampin, azole antifungals, or seizure medications.

Prednisone may also interact with antibiotics, anticholinesterase, isoniazid, bupropion, cholestyramine, cyclosporine, digitalis glycosides, estrogens (including oral contraceptives), barbiturates, ritonavir, indinavir, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), quetiapine, skin tests, thalidomide, and live or inactivated vaccines.

Following prolonged therapy, withdrawal of corticosteroids such as decadron or prednisone may result in symptoms of the corticosteroid withdrawal syndrome including muscle or joint pain and feeling unwell (malaise).

How Should Decadron Be Taken?

Decadron Tablets are available in 0.5, 0.75, 1, 1.5, 2, 4 and 6 mg strengths. The initial dosage for Decadron varies from .75 to 9 mg a day depending on the disease being treated. Infants born to mothers who have received substantial doses of corticosteroids during pregnancy should be carefully observed for signs of hypoadrenalism. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from corticosteroids, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother. Use in pediatric patients is recommended to be done in consultation with a pediatric specialist.

How Should Prednisone Be Taken?

Prednisone is available in strengths of 0.5 and 0.75 mg tablets.

Reviewed on 2/15/2019

References:
FDA. Decadron Drug Information.
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2004/11664slr062_decadron_lbl.pdf
FDA. PredniSONE Drug Information.
https://docs.boehringer-ingelheim.com/Prescribing%20Information/PIs/Roxane/Prednisone%20Reformulated/PredniSONEReform.pdf

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