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Brand Name: Decadron, Dexamethasone Intensol, Dexasone, Solurex, Baycadron

Generic Name: dexamethasone

Drug Class: Corticosteroids; Anti-Inflammatory Agents

What Is Dexamethasone and How Does It Work?

Dexamethasone is used to treat conditions such as arthritis, blood/hormone/immune system disorders, allergic reactions, certain skin and eye conditions, breathing problems, certain bowel disorders, and certain cancers. It is also used as a test for an adrenal gland disorder (Cushing's syndrome).

Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid hormone (glucocorticoid). It decreases your body's natural defensive response and reduces symptoms such as swelling and allergic-type reactions.

Dexamethasone may also be used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy.

Dexamethasone is available under the following different brand names: Decadron, Dexamethasone Intensol, Dexasone, Solurex, and Baycadron.

Dosages of Dexamethasone:

Dosage Forms & Strengths

Tablet as potassium

  • 0.5 mg
  • 0.75 mg
  • 1 mg
  • 1.5 mg
  • 2 mg
  • 4 mg
  • 6 mg

Injectable suspension

  • 4 mg/mL
  • 10 mg/mL

Elixir/oral solution

  • 0.5 mg/5mL

Oral concentrate

  • 1 mg/1mL

Powder packet for oral solution

  • 50 mg

Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows:


  • Adult: 0.75-9 mg/day intravenous/intramuscular/oral (IV/IM/PO) divided every 6-12 hours
  • Intra-articular, intra-lesional, or soft tissue: 0.2-6 mg/day
  • Pediatric: 0.08-0.3 mg/kg/day intravenous/intramuscular/oral (IV/IM/PO) divided every 6 hours or every 12 hours

Multiple Sclerosis (Acute Exacerbation)

  • 30 mg/day orally for 1 week; follow by 4-12 mg/day for 1 month

Cerebral Edema

  • 1-6 mg/kg intravenously (IV) once or 40 mg IV every 2-6 hours as needed
  • Alternative: 20 mg IV, then 3 mg/kg/day by continuous IV infusion
  • High-dose treatment not to be continued beyond 48-72 hours

Allergic Conditions

  • For control of severe or incapacitating allergic conditions intractable to adequate trials of conventional treatment in asthma, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, drug hypersensitivity reactions, perennial or seasonal allergic rhinitis, and serum sickness
  • Day 1: 4-8 mg intramuscularly (IM)
  • Days 2-3: 3 mg/day orally divided every 12 hours
  • Day 4: 1.5 mg/day orally divided every 12 hours
  • Days 5-6: 0.75 mg/day orally in single daily dose
  • Day 7: No treatment

Dexamethasone Suppression Test

  • Low-dose test
    • Screening for Cushing syndrome
    • Overnight test: 1 mg orally between 11:00 PM and midnight; cortisol level tested between 8:00 and 9:00 AM on following morning
    • Standard 2-day test: 0.5 mg orally every 6 hours (9:00 AM, 3:00 PM, 9:00 PM, 3:00 AM) for 2 days; cortisol level tested 6 hours after final dose (9:00 AM)

High-dose test

  • Confirmed Cushing syndrome in which further workup is needed to identify whether hormone excess is the result of Cushing syndrome or other causes
  • Standard 2-day test: After determination of baseline serum cortisol or 24-hr urinary free cortisol, 2 mg orally every 6 hours for 2 days; urine for free cortisol is collected during test, and serum cortisol is checked 6 hours after final dose
  • Overnight test: After determination of baseline serum cortisol, 8 mg (typically) orally between 11:00 pm and midnight; cortisol level tested between 8:00 and 9:00 AM on following morning
  • Intravenous (IV) test: After determination of baseline serum cortisol, 1 mg/hour by continuous IV infusion for 5-7 hours


Airway Edema

  • 0.5-2 mg/kg/day oral/intravenous/intramuscular (PO/IV/IM) divided every 6 hours, starting 24 hours before extubation and continued for 4-6 doses afterward

Croup, Pediatric

  • 0.6 mg/kg oral/intravenous/intramuscular (PO/IV/IM) once; not to exceed 16 mg


  • Children over 6 weeks: 0.6 mg/kg/day intravenously (IV) divided every 6 hours for first 2-4 days of antibiotic therapy, starting 10-20 minutes before or simultaneously with first antibiotic dose

Cerebral Edema Associated With Brain Tumor

  • 1-2 mg/kg oral/intravenous/intramuscular (PO/IV/IM) once; maintenance: 1-1.5 mg/kg/day IV/IM divided every 4-6 hours; not to exceed 16 mg/day

Spinal Cord Compression

Adrenal Cortical Hyperfunction Test

  • After determination of baseline cortisol level, 1 mg orally at bedtime
  • Plasma cortisol level then determined at 8:00 AM on following morning; level will be decreased in normal individuals but at baseline level in Cushing syndrome
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/17/2017


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