How Does Dexamethasone Work?

Dexamethasone is similar to a hormone naturally produced by the adrenal gland of the body, and it has numerous effects. However, its primary action for medical purposes is to reduce inflammation. It also works to suppress the body's usual immune response, which can suppress an overactive immune system.
When dexamethasone is taken for more than a few weeks, the body becomes accustomed to it and begins to make less of its natural steroids. If the drug is stopped too quickly, the body does not have time to adjust, and dangerous side effects can occur.

When and How to Take This Medication

Some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with dexamethasone include the following:
  • This medication comes in many different forms. The individual instructions will vary from product to product. Therefore, make sure to refer to the instruction for your particular dexamethasone medication.
  • Do not stop taking this medication suddenly. Your healthcare provider will tell you how to slowly reduce your dose to allow your body time to adjust to stopping it.
  • Dexamethasone can irritate the stomach. When taking this medicine by mouth, take it with food.
  • If you take dexamethasone once a day, try to take it early in the day if possible. Later doses can interfere with sleep. If you take it more than once a day and experience insomnia, talk to your healthcare provider about a dosing strategy that can help avoid late-day doses.
  • When using the oral concentrate solution (Dexamethasone Intensol™), mix the medication with a liquid, applesauce, or pudding before taking it. Use the dropper supplied with the medication to measure out the correct dose.
  • Try to take this medication at the same time each day to keep an even level of it in your bloodstream.
  • When using the ophthalmic (eye) suspension, shake the bottle well to mix the contents before use.
  • Do not wear contact lenses while using the ophthalmic (eye) suspension. Ask your healthcare provider when it is okay to wear contacts again.
  • For dexamethasone to work properly, it must be used as prescribed.
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