Dexamethasone Side Effects

Although only some people will experience side effects during treatment with dexamethasone, some of these reactions are potentially serious, even life-threatening, and should be reported to a healthcare provider right away. Hallucinations; severe, persistent eye pain; and fluid retention may require medical care. Fortunately, side effects tend to be minor, ranging from things like nausea and dizziness to headaches.

An Introduction to Dexamethasone Side Effects

Just like any medicine, dexamethasone can cause side effects. However, not everyone who takes the medication will have problems. In fact, some people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in many cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider.
 
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with dexamethasone. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)
 

Serious Side Effects

Some dexamethasone side effects, while occurring rarely, are potentially serious and should be reported to your healthcare provider. These may include:
 
  • Slowly healing wounds
  • A cold or infection that doesn't go away
  • Extreme mood changes, such as severe depression or euphoria (an exaggerated sense of well-being)
  • Psychosis or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren't there)
  • Signs of a gastrointestinal bleed or ulcer, such as:
     
    • Coughing up blood
    • Blood in the stool
    • Black, tarry stools
 
  • Severe tendon or joint pain or a ruptured tendon
  • Fungal infections of the skin, nails, or mucous membranes
  • Fluid retention or swelling (edema)
  • High blood sugar, especially in people with diabetes
  • Problems with vision, including:
     
    • Loss of peripheral vision
    • Blurred or clouded vision
    • Double vision
 
  • Severe or persistent eye pain or redness after using the eye drops or receiving the eye implant
  • Muscle weakness
  • Seizures
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
     
    • An unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Unexplained swelling of the mouth or throat
    • Wheezing or difficulty breathing or swallowing.
 
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Dexamethasone Drug Information

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