Arthritis Home > Dexamethasone

The steroid drug dexamethasone has a wide range of applications and is primarily used to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. Thus, the medication can be used for conditions like allergies and arthritis. It comes in several different forms, including eye drops, tablets, and injections. Most people have no problems with it; however, side effects are possible and can include dizziness, headache, and nervousness.

What Is Dexamethasone?

Dexamethasone is a prescription medication that belongs to a class of drugs called glucocorticoids, corticosteroids, or often simply just "steroids." Like other corticosteroids, it closely resembles hormones that are naturally occurring in the body. Dexamethasone is used to treat many different conditions, including arthritis, allergic conditions, skin conditions, and certain cancers.
 
This drug is available in several different forms, including tablet, oral liquid, ophthalmic (eye) drop, injection, and as a small implant injected into the eye. In addition, dexamethasone is sometimes combined with antibiotics in certain eye and ear medications.
 
(Click What Is Dexamethasone Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Are There Side Effects?

Just like any medicine, dexamethasone can cause side effects. However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience problems; some people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider. Serious reactions are less common.
 
The specific side effects of dexamethasone a person may experience depend on the particular product used. Commonly reported problems include but are not limited to:
 
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Local irritation (such as eye burning, stinging, and redness with eye products).
     
(Click Dexamethasone Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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