What is Hexadrol and how are they used?
Hexadrol is a prescription medicine used to treat the symptoms of Arthritis, Blood or Hormone Disorders, Allergic Reactions, Skin Diseases, Eye Problems, Breathing Problems, Bowel Disorders, Cancer and Immune System Disorders. Hexadrol may be used alone or with other medications.
Hexadrol belongs to a class of drugs called Corticosteroid.
It is not known if Hexadrol is safe and effective in children.
What are the possible side effects of Hexadrol?
Hexadrol may cause serious side effects including:
- difficulty breathing,
- swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat,
- sore throat,
- bone or joint pain,
- fast, slow, irregular heartbeat,
- eye pain or pressure,
- vision problems,
- unusual weight gain,
- puffy face,
- swelling of the ankles or feet,
- stomach pain,
- black or tarry stools,
- vomit that looks like coffee grounds,
- mood changes,
- mood swings,
- menstrual period changes,
- muscle pain or cramps,
- easy bruising or bleeding,
- slow wound healing,
- thinning skin,
- increased thirst or urination, and
- severe dizziness
Get medical help right away, if you have any of the symptoms listed above.
The most common side effects of Hexadrol include:
Tell the doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of Hexadrol. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Hexadrol® Phosphate Injection (dexamethasone sodium phosphate injection, USP) is a water-soluble inorganic ester of dexamethasone which produces a rapid response even when injected intramuscularly.
Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate, C22H28FNa2O8P, has a molecular weight of 516.41 and chemically is Pregn-4-ene-3, 20-dione, 9-fluoro-11, 17-dihydroxy-16-methyl-21 (phosphonooxy)-, disodium salt, (11β, 16α).
It occurs as a white to creamy white powder, is exceedingly hygroscopic, is soluble in water and its solutions have a pH between 7.5 and 10.5. It has the following structural formula:
Hexadrol® Phosphate Injection is available in 4 mg/mL and 10 mg/mL concentrations.
Each mL of Hexadrol® Phosphate Injection 4 mg/mL, contains dexamethasone sodium phosphate, USP equivalent to 4 mg dexamethasone phosphate; 1 mg sodium sulfite; 10 mg benzyl alcohol (preservative). Made isotonic with sodium citrate. pH adjusted with citric acid or sodium hydroxide.
Each mL of Hexadrol® Phosphate Injection 10 mg/mL, contains dexamethasone sodium phosphate, USP equivalent to 10 mg dexamethasone phosphate; 1.5 mg sodium sulfite; 10 mg benzyl alcohol (preservative). Made isotonic with sodium citrate. pH adjusted with citric acid or sodium hydroxide.
Intravenous Or Intramuscular Administration
When oral therapy is not feasible and the strength, dosage form, and route of administration of the drug reasonably lend the preparation to the treatment of the condition, those products labeled for intravenous or intramuscular use are indicated as follows:
Primary or secondary adrenocortical insufficiency (hydrocortisone or cortisone is the drug of choice; synthetic analogs may be used in conjunction with mineralocorticoids where applicable; in infancy, mineralocorticoid supplementation is of particular importance). Acute adrenocortical insufficiency (hydrocortisone or cortisone is the drug of choice; mineralocorticoid supplementation may be necessary, particularly when synthetic analogs are used).
Preoperatively, and in the event of serious trauma or illness, in patients with known adrenal insufficiency or when adrenocortical reserve is doubtful. Shock unresponsive to conventional therapy if adrenocortical insufficiency exists or is suspected.
As adjunctive therapy for short-term administration (to
tide the patient over an acute episode or exacerbation) in:Post-traumatic osteoarthritis.
Synovitis of osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis, including juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (selected cases may require low-dose maintenance therapy).
Acute and subacute bursitis.
Acute nonspecific tenosynovitis.
Acute gouty arthritis.
During an exacerbation or as maintenance therapy in selected cases of:
Control of severe or incapacitating allergic conditions intractable to adequate trials of conventional treatment in:
Seasonal or perennial allergic rhinitis.
Drug hypersensitivity reactions.
Urticarial transfusion reactions.
Acute noninfectious laryngeal edema (epinephrine is the drug of first choice).
Severe acute and chronic allergic and inflammatory processes involving the eye, such as:
Herpes zoster ophthalmicus.
Diffuse posterior uveitis and choroiditis.
Anterior segment inflammation.
Allergic corneal marginal ulcers.
To tide the patient over a critical period of the disease in:
Fulminating or disseminated pulmonary tuberculosis when used concurrently with appropriate anti-tuberculosis chemotherapy.
Loeffler's syndrome not manageable by other means.
Acquired (autoimmune) hemolytic anemia.
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura in adults (I.V. only; I.M. administration is contraindicated).
Secondary thrombocytopenia in adults.
Erythroblastopenia (RBC anemia).
Congenital (erythroid) hypoplastic anemia.
For palliative management of:
Leukemias and lymphomas in adults.
Acute leukemia of childhood.
Acute exacerbations of multiple sclerosis.
Tuberculous meningitis with subarachnoid block or
impending block when used concurrently with appropriate anti-tuberculosis
Trichinosis with neurologic or myocardial involvement.
Diagnostic testing of adrenocortical hyperfunction.
Cerebral edema of diverse etiologies in conjunction with adequate neurological evaluation and management.
Intra-articular Or Soft Tissue Administration
When the strength and dosage form of the drug lend the preparation to the treatment of the condition, those products labeled for intra-articular or soft tissue administration are indicated as adjunctive therapy for short-term administration (to tide the patient over an acute episode or exacerbation) in:
Synovitis of osteoarthritis.
Acute and subacute bursitis.
Acute gouty arthritis.
Acute nonspecific tenosynovitis.
When the strength and dosage form of the drug lend the preparation to the treatment of the condition, those products labeled for intralesional administration are indicated for:
Localized hypertrophic, infiltrated, inflammatory lesions of: lichen planus, psoriatic plaques, granuloma annulare, and lichen simplex chronicus (neurodermatitis).
Discoid lupus erythematosus.
Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum.
They also may be useful in cystic tumors of an aponeurosis tendon (ganglia).
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
Intravenous Or Intramuscular Administration
The initial dosage of Hexadrol® Phosphate Injection (dexamethasone sodium phosphate injection, USP) may vary from 0.50 mg/day to 9.0 mg/day depending on the specific disease entity being treated. In situations of less severity, lower doses will generally suffice while in selected patients higher initial doses may be required. Usually the parenteral dosage ranges are one-third to one-half the oral dose given every 12 hours. However, in certain overwhelming, acute, life-threatening situations, administration of dosages exceeding the usual dosages may be justified and may be in multiples of the oral dosages.
For the treatment of unresponsive shock high pharmacologic doses of this product are currently recommended. Reported regimens range from 1 to 6 mg/kg of body weight as a single intravenous injection to 40 mg initially followed by repeat intravenous injection every 2 to 6 hours while shock persists.
For the treatment of cerebral edema in adults an initial intravenous dose of 10 mg is recommended followed by 4 mg intramuscularly every six hours until maximum response has been noted. This regimen may be continued for several days postoperatively in patients requiring brain surgery. Oral dexamethasone, 1 to 3 mg t.i.d., should be given as soon as possible and dosage tapered off over a period of five to seven days. Nonoperative cases may require continuous therapy to remain free of symptoms of increased intracranial pressure. The smallest effective dose should be used in children, preferably orally. This may approximate 0.2 mg/kg/24 hours in divided doses.
In treatment of acute exacerbations of multiple sclerosis daily doses of 200 mg of prednisolone for a week followed by 80 mg every other day or 4–8 mg dexamethasone every other day for 1 month have been shown to be effective.
The initial dosage should be maintained or adjusted until a satisfactory response is noted. If after a reasonable period of time there is a lack of satisfactory clinical response, Hexadrol® Phosphate Injection (dexamethasone sodium phosphate injection, USP) should be discontinued and the patient transferred to other appropriate therapy. It should be emphasized that dosage requirements are variable and must be individualized on the basis of the disease under treatment and the response of the patient.
After a favorable response is noted, the proper maintenance dosage should be determined by decreasing the initial drug dosage in small decrements at appropriate time intervals until the lowest dosage which will maintain an adequate clinical response is reached. It should be kept in mind that constant monitoring is needed in regard to drug dosage. Included in the situations which may make dosage adjustments necessary are changes in clinical status secondary to remissions or exacerbations in the disease process, the patient's individual drug responsiveness and the effect of patient exposure to stressful situations not directly related to the disease entity under treatment. In this later situation it may be necessary to increase the dosage of Hexadrol® Phosphate Injection (dexamethasone sodium phosphate injection, USP) for a period of time consistent with the patient's condition. If after a long-term therapy the drug is to be stopped, it is recommended that it be withdrawn gradually rather than abruptly.
Intra-articular, Soft Tissue Or Intralesional Administration
The dose for instrasynovial administration is usually 2 to 4 mg for large joints and 0.8 to 1 mg for small joints. For soft tissue and bursal injections a dose of 2 to 4 mg is recommended. Ganglia require a dose of 1 to 2 mg. A dose of 0.4 to 1 mg is used for injection into tendon sheaths. Injection into intervertebral joints should not be attempted at any time and hip joint injection cannot be recommended as an office procedure.
Intrasynovial and soft tissue injections should be employed only when affected areas are limited to 1 or 2 sites. It should be remembered that corticoids provide palliation only and that other conventional or curative methods of therapy should be employed when indicated.
Parenteral drug products should be inspected visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration, whenever solution and container permit.
Frequency of injection usually ranges from once every 3 to 5 days to once every 2 to 3 weeks. Frequent intra-articular injection may cause damage to joint tissue.
5-mL (4mg/mL) multiple dose vial, NDC 0052-0796-05
5-mL (4mg/mL) multiple dose vial, box of 25, NDC 0052-0796-27
10-mL (10mg/mL) vial, (for intravenous or intramuscular use only) NDC 0052-0797-10
1-mL (4mg/mL) Prefilled Disposable Syringe, box of 25, NDC 0052-0796-26
1-mL (10mg/mL) Prefilled Disposable Syringe, box of 25, NDC 0052-0797-26
Protect from light. Store at 15°–30°C (59°–86°F).
CAUTION: Federal law prohibits dispensing without a prescription.
Distributed by: Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889, USA. Revised: 06/2014
Fluid and electrolyte disturbances
Development of cushingoid state
Suppression of growth in children
Secondary adrenocortical and pituitary unresponsiveness, particularly in times of stress, as in trauma, surgery, or illness
Decreased carbohydrate tolerance
Manifestations of latent diabetes mellitus
Increased requirements for insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents in diabetics
Hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation
Subcutaneous and cutaneous atrophy
Postinjection flare, following intra-articular use
Itching, burning, tingling in the ano-genital region
Systemic fungal infections.
Serious Neurologic Adverse Reactions With Epidural Administration
Serious neurologic events, some resulting in death, have been reported with epidural injection of corticosteroids. Specific events reported include, but are not limited to, spinal cord infarction, paraplegia, quadriplegia, cortical blindness, and stroke. These serious neurologic events have been reported with and without use of fluoroscopy. The safety and effectiveness of epidural administration of corticosteroids have not been established, and corticosteroids are not approved for this use.
In patients on corticosteroid therapy subject to any unusual stress, increased dosage of rapidly acting corticosteroids before, during and after the stressful situation is indicated. Corticosteroids may mask some signs of infection, and new infections may appear during their use. There may be decreased resistance and inability to localize infection when corticosteroids are used.
Prolonged use of corticosteroids may produce posterior subcapsular cataracts, glaucoma with possible damage to the optic nerves, and may enhance the establishment of secondary ocular infections due to fungi or viruses.
Children who are on immunosuppressant drugs are more susceptible to infections than healthy children. Chickenpox and measles, for example, can have a more serious or even fatal course in children on immunosuppressant corticosteroids. In such children, or in adults who have not had these diseases, particular care should be taken to avoid exposure. If exposed, therapy with varicella zoster immune globulin (VZIG) or pooled intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), as appropriate, may be indicated. If chickenpox develops, treatment with antiviral agents may be considered.
Similarly, corticosteroids should be used with great care in patients with known or suspected Strongyloides (threadworm) infestation. In such patients, corticosteroidinduced immunosuppression may lead to Strongyloides hyperinfection and dissemination with widespread larval migration, often accompanied by severe enterocolitis and potentially fatal gram-negative septicemia.
Usage In Pregnancy
Since adequate human reproduction studies have not been done with corticosteroids, use of these drugs in pregnancy, nursing mothers or women of childbearing potential requires that the possible benefits of the drug be weighed against the potential hazards to the mother and embryo or fetus. Infants born of mothers who have received substantial doses of corticosteroids during pregnancy should be carefully observed for signs of hypoadrenalism.
Average and large doses of cortisone or hydrocortisone can cause elevation of blood pressure, salt and water retention, and increased excretion of potassium. These effects are less likely to occur with the synthetic derivatives except when used in large doses. Patients with a stressed myocardium should be observed carefully and the drug administered slowly since premature ventricular contractions may occur with rapid administration. Dietary salt restriction and potassium supplementation may be necessary. All corticosteroids increase calcium excretion.
While on corticosteroid therapy patients should not be vaccinated against smallpox. Other immunization procedures should not be undertaken in patients who are on corticosteroids, especially in high doses, because of possible hazards of neurological complications and lack of antibody response.
The use of Hexadrol® Phosphate Injection (dexamethasone sodium phosphate injection, USP) in active tuberculosis should be restricted to those cases of fulminating or disseminated tuberculosis in which the corticosteroid is used for the management of the disease in conjunction with an appropriate anti-tuberculosis regimen.
If corticosteroids are indicated in patients with latent tuberculosis or tuberculin reactivity, close observation is necessary as reactivation of the disease may occur. During prolonged corticosteroid therapy, these patients should receive chemoprophylaxis.
Because rare instances of anaphylactoid reactions have occurred in patients receiving parenteral corticosteroid therapy, appropriate precautionary measures should be taken prior to administration, especially when the patient has a history of allergy to any drug.
Hexadrol® Phosphate Injection contains sodium sulfite, a sulfite that may cause allergic type reactions including anaphylactic symptoms and life-threatening or less severe asthmatic episodes in certain susceptible people. The overall prevalence of sulfite sensitivity in the general population is unknown and probably low. Sulfite sensitivity is seen more frequently in asthmatic than in nonasthmatic people.
Drug-induced secondary adrenocortical insufficiency may be minimized by gradual reduction of dosage. This type of relative insufficiency may persist for months after discontinuation of therapy; therefore, in any situation of stress occurring during that period, hormone therapy should be reinstituted. Since mineralocorticoid secretion may be impaired, salt and/or a mineralocorticoid should be administered concurrently.
Corticosteroids should be used cautiously in patients with ocular herpes simplex for fear of corneal perforation.
The lowest possible dose of corticosteroid should be used to control the condition under treatment, and when reduction in dosage is possible, the reduction must be gradual.
Psychic derangements may appear when corticosteroids are used ranging from euphoria, insomnia, mood swings, personality changes, and severe depression to frank psychotic manifestations. Also, existing emotional instability or psychotic tendencies may be aggravated by corticosteroids.
Aspirin should be used cautiously in conjunction with corticosteroids in hypoprothrombinemia.
Steroids should be used with caution in nonspecific ulcerative colitis, if there is a probability of impending perforation, abscess or other pyogenic infection, also in diverticulitis, fresh intestinal anastomoses, active or latent peptic ulcer, renal insufficiency, hypertension, osteoporosis, and myasthenia gravis.
Growth and development of infants and children on prolonged corticosteroid therapy should be carefully followed.
Patients who are on immunosuppressant doses of corticosteroids should be warned to avoid exposure to chickenpox or measles and, if exposed, to obtain medical advice.
Intra-articular injection of a corticosteroid may produce systemic as well as local effects.
Appropriate examination of any joint fluid present is necessary to exclude a septic process.
A marked increase in pain accompanied by local swelling, further restriction of joint motion, fever, and malaise are suggestive of septic arthritis. If this complication occurs and the diagnosis of sepsis is confirmed, appropriate antimicrobial therapy should be instituted.
Local injection of a steroid into a previously infected joint is to be avoided. Corticosteroids should not be injected into unstable joints.
Although controlled clinical trials have shown corticosteroids to be effective in speeding the resolution of acute exacerbations of multiple sclerosis they do not show that they affect the ultimate outcome or natural history of the disease. The studies do show that relatively high doses of corticosteroids are necessary to demonstrate a significant effect. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION Section).
Since complications of treatment with glucocorticoids are dependent on the size of the dose and the duration of treatment a risk/benefit decision must be made in each individual case as to dose and duration of treatment and as to whether daily or intermittent therapy should be used.
Naturally occurring glucocorticoids (hydrocortisone), which also have salt-retaining properties, are used as replacement therapy in adrenocortical deficiency states. Their synthetic analogs are primarily used for their potent anti-inflammatory effects in disorders of many organ systems.
Glucocorticoids cause profound and varied metabolic effects. In addition, they modify the body's immune responses to diverse stimuli.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Resources
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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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