Arthritis Home > Dexamethasone Side Effects

Possible Side Effects of Dexamethasone

For many medications, the prescribing information carefully explains the exact percentage of side effects that were seen in clinical trials. However, the prescribing information for almost all older medications, including many dexamethasone products, contains only vague information on potential side effects, with no percentages provided.
 
Therefore, it can be difficult to know exactly how common or how rare problems with such medications may be. In addition, the many different forms of dexamethasone may have significantly different side effects.
 
Some of the possible dexamethasone side effects are thought to include:
 
Some side effects are more likely to occur with long-term dexamethasone use. Some of the possible long-term reactions may include but are not limited to:
 
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Acne
  • Easy bruising
  • Weight gain
  • Fluid retention
  • Cataracts
  • Decreased bone density or osteoporosis
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Bulging eyes
  • Increased hair growth in women
  • Cushing's syndrome, which could cause:
     
    • Upper-body obesity
    • A rounded face
    • Increased fat around the neck
 
  • Slow growth in children.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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