Dexamethasone (brand name- Decadron), is an FDA-approved treatment for certain types of cancers. It is a corticosteroid, and is similar to a natural hormone produced by your adrenal glands. Dexmethasone is often used to replace this chemical when your body does not make enough of it.
It relieves inflammation (swelling, heat, redness, and pain) and is used to treat certain forms of arthritis; skin, blood, kidney, eye, thyroid, and intestinal disorders (e.g., colitis); severe allergies; and asthma.
Let us walk you through the key things you need to know about dexamethasone
How should I take dexamethasone (Decadron)?
Dexamethasone comes as a tablet and a solution to take by mouth. Your doctor will prescribe a dosing schedule that is best for you. Take dexamethasone exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Do not stop taking dexamethasone without talking to your doctor. Stopping the drug abruptly can cause side effects. You can help your Doctor by tracking your side effects in Ankr.
What are the side effects of dexamethasone (Decadron)?
Common side effects
Serious side effects
- swollen face, lower legs, or ankles
- vision problems
- cold or infection that lasts a long time
- black or tarry stool
- irregular or absent menstrual periods
Dexamethasone may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication. If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking dexamethasone (Decadron)
- tell your doctor about your allergies
- tell your doctor about other intakes
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any medical condition, or treatment
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding.
While you are on dexamethasone (Decadron)
- If you become pregnant while taking dexamethasone, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking dexamethasone.
- if you have a history of ulcers or take large doses of aspirin or other arthritis medication, limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages while taking this drug. Dexamethasone makes your stomach and intestines more susceptible to the irritating effects of alcohol, aspirin, and certain arthritis medications: this effect increases your risk of ulcers.
I forgot a dose. What should I do?
When you start to take dexamethasone, ask your doctor what to do if you forget a dose. Write down these instructions so that you can refer to them later.
If you take dexamethasone once a day, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
In case of an emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
How should I safely store and dispose of dexamethasone (Decadron)?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
You should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Your doctor may instruct you to follow a low-sodium, low-salt, potassium-rich, or high-protein diet. Follow these directions.
Dexamethasone may cause an upset stomach. Take dexamethasone with food or milk.
- Dexamethasone Intensol®
- Dexpak® Taperpak®
Last Revised – 06/30/2023, FDA updated-09/15/2017, SG
Get 24×7 support for dexamethasone (Decadron)
Don’t go through your cancer journey alone. Use Ankr to:
(1) find the best treatment for your cancer, and
(2) get advanced warning to cut side effects by upto 52%
Tell us how we can improve this post?