Dexamethasone, a steroid medication, is used to treat various health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, brain swelling, intestinal disorder, kidney problems, etc.
This compound was firstly prepared in 1957 and came in medical use in 1961. As per WHO, it is one of the essential medications.
This medication the same as the hormone produced by adrenal glands. It is used to treat certain types of inflammation.
Read the guidelines on your prescription carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to clear the dosage timings and any other confusion if you have.
It has recommended in the treatment of COVID 19 with a severe respiratory infection.
Long term uses of dexamethasone may cause muscle weakness, bone loss, and easy burning.
What is Dexamethasone?
Dexamethasone has potent anti-inflammatory properties with 9-fluoro-glucocorticoid. In addition to the immunosuppressant property, it is a glucocorticoid agonist. Moreover, It can penetrate the brain tissue very well, it can manage central edema very well.
It is an oral medication available as both a generic and a brand name. It is sold as an oral tablet, oral solution, eye drop, and eardrops. Moreover, it comes as a vaccine form.
What are the uses of Dexamethasone?
This is an oral tablet as well as comes in solution form. It is used to treat various health conditions such as cancer, eye inflammation, ear inflammation, swelling, redness, and many more.
Apart from these, it also used to treat hormone deficiency produced by the adrenal gland. It is the synthetic type of adrenal steroids.
Various conditions that are treated by Dexamethasone. These includes:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis, allergic reaction, juvenile arthritis, acute gouty arthritis, inflammation, and acute arthritis
- Adrenal gland deficiency to produce the hormone, it has the same structure as the hormone produced by the adrenal gland
- It helps to reduce the side effects of cancer treatment such as inflammation
- It helps to treat the creative colitis, multiple sclerosis, and myasthenia gravis
- In addition to all these, it treats various skin conditions such as exfoliating dermatitis, bullous dermatitis, hypetiformis, severe seborrheic dermatitis, severe psoriasis, and mycosis fungoides.
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Dexamethasone Results in the treatment of COVID 19
As per WHO reports, the Clinical trial report has come for the treatment of COVID 19. Dexamethasone can be good life-saving drugs for the patient who is suffering from this pandemic.
It is a corticosteroid, was appeared to decrease mortality by about one third in those patients who are on the ventilator. Moreover, decreasing morality with the patient on oxygen was one fifth in ratio.
These benefits are only shown in the serious patient of COVID 19, there is no observation in patients with the milder illness. This was the first medicine that has shown result in cutting down the mortality in the patients who are on oxygen and ventilator.
Dexamethasone is life-saving steroids in COVID 19 pandemic as per the report of the World Health Organisation.
In the study, the drug decreases the rate of deaths by one 3rd for the patients on the ventilator. Do not use the medication by itself unless your doctor prescribes it. If you have any questions related to this medication, please consult your medical practitioner.
Mechanism of Action
The short term outcomes of dexamethasone are reduced vasodilation and permeability of capillaries and decreased leukocyte migration to sites of inflammation.
These steroids bind to the glucocorticoid receptor, which influences changes in gene expression that lead to multiple subsequent results over hours to days.
The binding of this drug with glucocorticoid inhibits neutrophil apoptosis and emargination; they inhibit phospholipase A2, which decreases the formation of arachidonic acid derivatives.
In addition to inhibition of phospholipase A2, they also inhibit NF-Kappa B and other inflammatory factors. binding of corticosteroids encourages anti-inflammatory genes like interleukin-10, HMOX 1, and interleukin 18.
Lower doses of these drugs act as anti-inflammatory particles, while a higher dose is a good immunosuppressive agent and it modifies the immune response of the body.
Moreover, higher doses and uses of corticosteroids for a prolonged period leads to increases the sodium level in blood and decrease the potassium level.
How Does It Reduce Inflammation?
Inflammation is the condition of the immune response against certain harmful pathogens, infection in cells, and it is an important response to understand something going wrong with the body.
But sometimes it can damage the cells at the extent level, this medication influence the anti-inflammatory genes to stop the inflammation. It encourages the activation of anti-inflammatory genes such as interleukin 10.
How Does It Treat Adrenal Insufficiency?
The adrenal gland is a triangular shape gland that is also known as the super gland. It produces natural steroid, which regulates the various body function such as blood pressure, immune system, metabolism, and other important function.
Dexamethasone is the synthetic hormone, that is as similar to as hormone produced by the adrenal gland. It binds with the glucocorticoids and regulates the important functions of the body.
How to Use Dexamethasone?
This medication is used as directed by the medical practitioner, As per guidelines, take it with a meal otherwise, it can cause of stomach upset.
Drink a lot of water after taking this medication orally. You will need a measuring device if you take it in the solution form.
This important to maintain the regular schedule with the calendar, because a good schedule would help to function it properly.
The dosage usually depends on the medical condition and the response towards the therapy. Do not stop the medication without the permission of the doctor, it needs to reduce the dose slowly.
The condition may be the worst if you suddenly stop the medication. Consult your doctor if you don’t experience the improvement in the health condition, or if you may face any kind of unbearable side effects.
Side Effects of Dexamethasone
Dexamethasone is used to treat health conditions such as immune system disorder, a blood disorder, skin disorder, arthritis, and eye condition. A recent study on COVID 19 says that this drug helps to treat breathing problems in patients.
In addition to these conditions, it also treats the adrenal gland deficiency that is known as Cushing’s syndrome.
But several side effects have noticed with the dosage of dexamethasone. These includes: –
- Many people using this medication experience stomach upset, dizziness, headache, insomnia, obesity, menstrual cycle imbalance, or increasing hunger tendency. If any of the symptoms persist for a long time, consult your doctor about the problem.
- This medication does not cause side effects in many patients as well, Their doctor prescribes the medication because it has benefits in improvement in the health condition.
- Notify your medical practitioner, if you experience a serious sign of infection such as fever, persistence sore throat, joint pain, frequent urination, and thirst, irregular heartbeat, and eye pain
- You must consult your doctor if you occur encounter vision problems, symptoms of bleeding, abdominal pain, black stool, selling around legs & arms, weakness, and tiredness.
- No major allergic reaction has recorded with the use of dexamethasone. However, you need to check with the doctor if you see any symptoms of allergic reactions including rash, itching, trouble breathing, and dizziness.
- Apart from these, if you notice any other side effects that are not listed here, you must check with your doctor.
Dexamethasone Drug Interactions
Drug interaction is changing the action of drugs or may cause side effects. Dexamethasone may interact with certain medications including vitamins, herbs, antibiotics, food, alcohol, and a few more.
To avoid the interactions, you should understand what you have to eat and drink with this corticosteroid. You need to tell your doctor about all the vitamins supplement you are taking.
To prevent the interaction this is important to explain your lifestyle, whether you are addicted to any alcohol or smoking. You should aware of all kinds of interactions that can happen with using this drug.
Ensure with the pharmacist or doctor about all the information or precaution, which you have to manage while using the medication.
Here, a few examples of drug interactions are given below: –
Antibiotics Interaction with corticosteroids
Erythromycin is the class of antibiotics known as macrolide antibiotics. It treats certain bacterial infections including lung infection. This antibiotic can increase the level of corticosteroids in the body that might cause major side effects.
Antifungal Drugs Interaction with corticosteroids
The antifungal drug is known as an antimycotic medication, which is used to treat certain infections such as ringworm infection, meningitis, and athlete’s foot. Ketoconazole, voriconazole, and econazole are examples of the antifungal classes of drugs.
The use of these drugs with corticosteroids can increase the level of corticosteroids in the blood. It may cause certain side effects.
Amphotericin B is a class of antifungal may lower the potassium level in the blood, when uses with the corticosteroids. A lower level of calcium causes muscles cramp and weakness.
Blood Thinner Interaction with Corticosteroids
Blood thinner may reduce the level of corticosteroids in the blood. It may hamper the effects of dexamethasone in the body.
Warfarin is an example of blood thinner, it may cause the risk of bleeding. If you have taken this blood thinner you need to under observation in the doctor.
Anti- Diabetic Interaction with Corticosteroids
Pramlintide, metformin, saxagliptin, insulin, sulphonylureas, and rosiglitazone are the few examples of anti-diabetic drugs. Using these drugs with dexamethasone may reduce the effects of anti-diabetic and elevate the level of sugar in the blood.
Anti-epileptic Interaction with Corticosteroids
The use of anti-epileptic drugs with corticosteroids can decrease the level of corticosteroids in blood. Anti-epileptic such as phenytoin and carbamazepine do not affect the efficacy of corticosteroids.
Digoxin Interaction with Corticosteroids
Digoxin treats cardiovascular disease along with other medications. It reduces the risk of heart failure. Taking corticosteroids with digoxin may increase the risk of heart failure and decrease the level of potassium in the blood.
Hormones medication Interactions with Corticosteroids
Taking hormones with corticosteroids can decrease the level of hormones n the body. You can consult with the doctor according to requirement.
HIV Medication Interactions with Corticosteroids
Anti-HIV Drugs with corticosteroids can affect the treatment of HIV. Corticosteroids reduce the efficacy of HIV drugs.
Your doctor may not prescribe the corticosteroids with HIV drugs.
Precautions with Dexamethasone
You need to know several warnings while using corticosteroids.
High Blood Pressure
People with high blood pressure should ensure about the warnings. This drug can increase the sodium level in the blood that can elevate your blood pressure.
There are chances to increase the risk of intestinal bleeding. Your doctor may explain to you well about the uses of these drugs.
This drug may remove from the body. Talk to your doctor for dose adjustment.
Dexamethasone can reactivate tuberculosis. If you are on the medication of tuberculosis talk to your doctor whether it is effective for you.
It may increase the blood sugar level, ask your doctor if you experience the symptoms of elevating the blood sugar level.
Using the prolonged period of Dexamethasone can increase the risk of cataracts. You may be at high risk if you ever had any previous history of eye problems.
If you have a history of heart-related diseases such as irregular heartbeat and heart attack, this medicine may create the problem. Before taking this drug, consult with pharmacists or doctors.
This corticosteroid is a type C pregnancy drug. If you are doing family planning or you are pregnant, you must tell your doctor. It is not sure whether it is safe for the pregnancy
In older age the kidney becomes week. This drug may stay for a long time in the body can cause severe side effects. Consult your doctor before starting the medication in old age.
Dosage Information of Dexamethasone
The dosage of dexamethasone should be taken as per instructions given by doctor or pharmacist. He will check your health condition. The dosage will be prescribed according to your age, sex, and other health conditions.
Dosage of Dexamethasone Oral
0.5mg to 6 mg is recommended according to age.
Required Dose: 0.75- 9mg
For pediatrics( age-0-17)
Required Dose: 0.02- 0.3 mg /kg of body weight
For Geriatrics( age-above 65 years)
Required Dose: This can cause side effects in the patient of old aged.
Your doctor will advise or he can start with the lowest dose.
Overdose of Dexamethasone
If you miss the dose, do not take the double dose. It can cause severe side effects. Just wait for the time of the next dose, or consult with your doctor about the missed dose.
Can you swallow dexamethasone?
Dexamethasone should be taken as per the advice of the doctor, if you are taking this medication for the deficiency of the adrenal hormone, it is recommended to take it at bedtime. You can take swallow it with one glass of water.
Is dexamethasone strong steroids?
Dexamethasone is a high potency steroid, which has higher efficacy and acts for a long time.
Does dexamethasone give you energy?
Dexamethasone is the long-acting corticosteroids, It helps to regulate the function of the body and he’s to treat certain inflammation. This drug provides energy to the body to fight with certain health problems.
Will dexamethasone keep me awake?
Dexamethasone will prove your energy. Sometimes it may cause insomnia. If you are suffering from insomnia, ask your doctor for reducing the dose or he will prescribe you a few medications to treat insomnia.