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Depo-Medrol vs. Decadron

Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

Are Depo-Medrol and Decadron the Same Thing?

Depo-Medrol (methylprednisolone acetate) and Decadron (dexamethasone) are corticosteroids used to treat arthritis and other joint disorders. They may also be used to treat conditions such as blood disorders, severe allergic reactions, certain cancers, eye conditions, skin/intestinal/kidney/lung diseases, and immune system disorders.

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

Side effects of Depo-Medrol and Decadron that are similar include nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, trouble sleeping, appetite changes, or acne.

Side effects of Depo-Medrol that are different from Decadron include heartburn, increased sweating, or injection site reactions (pain, redness, swelling).

Side effects of Decadron that are different from Depo-Medrol include stomach upset, skin rash, increased hair growth, irregular menstrual periods, weight gain, easy bruising, anxiety, or depression.

Both Depo-Medrol and Decadron may interact with antibiotics, azole antifungals, estrogens and oral contraceptives, seizure medications, cyclosporine, or rifamycins.

Depo-Medrol may also interact with aldesleukin, mifepristone, other drugs that weaken the immune response, other drugs that cause bleeding/bruising, boceprevir, HIV protease inhibitors, St. John's wort, and telaprevir.

Decadron may also interact with aminoglutethimide, potassium-depleting agents (e.g., amphotericin B, diuretics), anticholinesterases, oral anticoagulants, antidiabetics, antitubercular drugs, cholestyramine, dexamethasone suppression tests (DST), digitalis glycosides, ephedrine, barbiturates, aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), skin tests, thalidomide, and live or inactivated vaccines.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Depo-Medrol?

Common side effects of Depo-Medrol include:

  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • heartburn,
  • headache,
  • dizziness,
  • trouble sleeping,
  • appetite changes,
  • increased sweating,
  • acne, or
  • injection site reactions (pain, redness, swelling).

Other side effects of Depo-Medrol include a rise in blood sugar, and a lowered ability to fight infections.

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 Is Depo-Medrol?

Depo-Medrol (methylprednisolone acetate) is an anti-inflammatory glucocorticoid used to treat pain and swelling that occurs with arthritis and other joint disorders. It may also be used to treat conditions such as blood disorders, severe allergic reactions, certain cancers, eye conditions, skin/intestinal/kidney/lung diseases, and immune system disorders. Depo-Medrol is available in generic form.

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 Drugs Interact With Depo-Medrol?

Depo-Medrol may interact with aldesleukin, mifepristone, antibiotics, other drugs that weaken the immune response, other drugs that cause bleeding/bruising, azole antifungals, boceprevir, cyclosporine, estrogens, HIV protease inhibitors, rifamycins, St. John's wort, seizure medications, and telaprevir. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. During pregnancy, Depo-Medrol should be used only when prescribed. It may rarely harm a fetus. Infants born to mothers who use this medication during pregnancy may have hormone problems. Tell your doctor if you notice symptoms such as persistent nausea/vomiting, severe diarrhea, or weakness in your newborn. This medication passes into breast milk but is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

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.

How Should Depo-Medrol Be Taken?

The initial dosage of Depo-Medrol varies from 4 to 120 mg depending on the disease being treated.

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.

Reviewed on 2/15/2019

References:
FDA. Depo-Medrol Drug Information.
https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=9a7b3837-e038-48bf-97e9-78ad463760dc
DailyMed. Decadron Product Information.

https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=37a5bdfd-67ab-4ea3-862b-35ac30dfd7f4

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