Dexamethasone (Injection)


Dexamethasone (dex-a-METH-a-sone)

Treats symptoms of many conditions such as joint disease, skin conditions, allergies, swelling, eye disease, and stomach or bowel disease. Also used to test for adrenal gland problems. This medicine is a corticosteroid.

Brand Name(s)

Cortastat, Cortastat 10, Cortastat LA, Dexasone L.A., NovaPlus Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine


  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given as a shot into a muscle or a vein, or directly into one of your joints.
  • A nurse or other health provider will give you this medicine.
  • You may be taught how to give your medicine at home. Make sure you understand all instructions before giving yourself an injection. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • Use a new needle and syringe each time you inject your medicine.

If a dose is missed:

  • You must use this medicine on a fixed schedule. Call your doctor or pharmacist if you miss a dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • If you store this medicine at home, keep it at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Medicine that is mixed in an IV bag should be kept in the refrigerator and used within 24 hours after mixing. Do not freeze.
  • Throw away used needles in a hard, closed container that the needles cannot poke through. Keep this container away from children and pets.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using amphotericin B (Fungizone®, Ambisome®, Abcelet®), thalidomine, diuretics (water pills), aspirin, or blood thinners (Coumadin®). Tell your doctor if you use medicine for seizures (such as Dilantin®, phenobarbital), indinavir (Crixivan®), rifampin, ketoconazole (Nizoral®), erythromycin (E.E.S.®, E-Mycin®), indomethacin (Indocin®), or ephedrine (Primatene®).
  • You may need to change your diet (such as lowering salt intake) while you are using this medicine. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.
  • Talk to your doctor before getting flu shots or other vaccines while you are receiving dexamethasone.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Tell your doctor if you have diabetes, cataracts, glaucoma, herpes infection of the eye, tuberculosis, asthma, or allergies to other medicines. Tell your doctor if you have osteoporosis, stomach problems, mental illness, myasthenia gravis, strongyloids (threadworm), liver disease, kidney disease, or thyroid problems.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have high blood pressure or congestive heart failure, or if you have ever had a heart attack.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly. Your doctor will need to slowly decrease your dose before you stop it completely.
  • It may be easier for you to get an infection while you are using this medicine. Avoid crowds and people who are sick. If you are exposed to chickenpox or measles, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. Dexamethasone can change the results of some medical tests.
  • If this medicine is injected into one of your joints, follow caregiver's instructions about resting the body part, even if it feels better.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Behavior changes, unusual thoughts.
  • Black, bloody, or tarry stools, with severe stomach pain.
  • Changes in vision, trouble seeing, eye discomfort or discharge.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, body aches.
  • Rapid weight gain, swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Unusual weakness or tiredness.
  • Worsened joint pain, swelling, or stiffness.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Changes in menstrual periods in women.
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting.
  • Restlessness, anxiety, mood changes, trouble sleeping.
  • Skin changes, bruising, redness, sweating.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 8/4/2014

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