Dexamethasone vs. Prednisolone

Are Dexamethasone and Prednisolone the Same Thing?

Dexamethasone and prednisolone are corticosteroids indicated for allergic states and allergic reactions, dermatologic diseases, endocrine disorders, gastrointestinal diseases, hematologic disorders, neoplastic diseases, nervous system, ophthalmic diseases, renal diseases, respiratory diseases, and rheumatic disorders.

Brand names for dexamethasone include Ozurdex and DexPak 6 Day or 13 Day.

Brand names for prednisolone include Omnipred, Pediapred, and Pred Mild.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Dexamethasone?

Common side effects of Dexamethasone include:

Rare instances of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) have occurred in patients receiving corticosteroid therapy such as dexamethasone.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Prednisolone?

Common side effects of Prednisolone include:

  • infections,
  • heartburn,
  • trouble sleeping (insomnia),
  • hunger,
  • nausea,
  • headache,
  • dizziness,
  • menstrual period changes,
  • increased sweating,
  • acne, and
  • nervousness


Allergies can best be described as: See Answer

What is Dexamethasone?

Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid indicated for allergic states, dermatologic diseases, endocrine disorders, gastrointestinal diseases, hematologic disorders, neoplastic diseases, nervous system, ophthalmic diseases, renal diseases, respiratory diseases, and rheumatic disorders. Dexamethasone is available as a generic.

What is Prednisolone?

Prednisolone is an adrenocortical steroid used for multiple conditions including endocrine disorders, rheumatic disorders, collagen diseases, skin diseases, allergies, eye diseases, respiratory diseases, blood disorders, cancers, edematous states, gastrointestinal diseases, and nervous system disorders, among others. The brand name of this medication is discontinued, but generic versions may be available.

What Drugs Interact With Dexamethasone?

Dexamethasone may interact with aspirin (taken on a daily basis or at high doses), insulin or oral diabetes medications, blood thinners, cyclosporine, rifampin, or seizure medications.

Dexamethasone may also interact with diuretics (water pills) or ketoconazole.

What Drugs Interact With Prednisolone?

Prednisolone may interact with aspirin (taken on a daily basis or at high doses), cyclosporine, rifampin, blood thinners, azole antifungals, or seizure medications.

Prednisolone may also interact with aldesleukin, azathioprine, cancer chemotherapy, mifepristone, antiplatelet drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), estrogens, or St. John's wort.

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


Could I Be Allergic? Discover Your Allergy Triggers See Slideshow

How Should Dexamethasone Be Taken?

Dexamethasone Tablets are available in 0.5, 0.75, 1, 1.5, 2, 4 and 6 mg strengths. The initial dosage for Dexamethasone 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 Prednisolone Be Taken?

The initial dosage of prednisolone varies from 5 mg to 60 mg per day depending on the disease being treated. Prednisolone may interact with other drugs. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. During pregnancy, prednisolone should be used only if prescribed. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.


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Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

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