Dexamethasone: uses, dosage, side effects, warnings and COVID-19 treatment

Dexamethasone: uses, dosage, side effects, warnings and COVID-19 treatment

Any problems like a sore mouth, for example, can be prevented by using a spacer with your inhaler, if that’s possible. And always rinse your mouth with water and spit it out after using your inhaler. Relievers are used to open your airways when you’re having symptoms or an asthma attack. Dexamethasone may increase blood sugar levels and so may oppose the blood sugar lowering effects of antidiabetic medicines.

  • You may need a longer course, or to take steroid tablets continuously if your symptoms are not well controlled despite other treatments, or while you are waiting for alternative treatments, such as biologic treatments for asthma.
  • A 54-year-old man is admitted to the observation unit to rule out an acute coronary syndrome.
  • If you’re exposed to these diseases either during treatment, or in the three months after stopping treatment, you should consult your doctor urgently.
  • If the body’s natural level of steroid hormones is too low because the adrenal glands are not producing enough hormones, this must be treated with replacement therapy to allow the body to function normally.
  • It’s important that you always follow the instructions given by your doctor or pharmacist and ask them for advice if you’re not sure about anything.
  • Firstly, I reassure them that we always prescribe the lowest dose needed for their condition.

If you’ve been prescribed a MART inhaler (Maintenance and Reliever Therapy) you will be prescribed one inhaler to work as a preventer and a reliever. It opens up the airways and also gives a dose of preventer medicine to deal with inflammation. Dexamethasone does pass into breast milk, but low doses taken by the mother are unlikely to significantly affect a nursing baby.

Clinical Topics

Most of these problems go away if the dose is lowered or the medicine is stopped. A 54-year-old man is admitted to the observation unit injectable steroids buy to rule out an acute coronary syndrome. While waiting for further testing, he has a cardiac arrest, and a code blue is called.

  • When prescribing dexamethasone, consult the manufacturer’s information.
  • You are more likely to have problems with your liver if you take dexamethasone with high-dose methotrexate.
  • So it’s important to see your doctor if you get any signs of infection while you’re taking dexamethasone.

For example, if you have an upset stomach after taking steroids, your GP may suggest taking the tablet with meals or after food. If you have asthma and need two or more short courses in a year, or your symptoms keep coming back once you’ve finished the course, you should ask your GP for a referral to a specialist clinic. This is because it’s a sign your asthma is difficult to control. If you’re using a steroid inhaler these medicines act directly on the airways, and generally have very few side effects.

Steroid inhalers

This lets healthcare professionals know you’re taking steroids. It’s really important that you don’t stop taking your steroids in an inhaler or tablets suddenly if you’ve been taking them for more than a few weeks. Steroids in an inhaler or as tablets are an important and effective treatment for inflammation in the lungs and can make a massive difference to how you deal with your condition. You may notice more side effects if you need to take high doses of your inhaler for a long time.

About lung conditions

They’re also prescribed to some people with COPD who get regular flare-ups, particularly when COPD has asthma-like features, or if they have asthma alongside their COPD. Dexamethasone should not normally be used in people with COVID-19 that is not severe or critical, because of the possibility of harm to such people. It is given by mouth or intravenously for 7-10 days, but treatment should stop if the person is discharged from hospital before the 10 day course is completed. A recent study called the RECOVERY trial has shown that using dexamethasone in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection (usually called COVID-19) significantly reduced death rates from all causes.

Dexamethasone treatment for the acute respiratory distress

If you’re taking a high dose for long periods of time your doctor might want to monitor your baby, because the medicine could potentially cause the baby to make less of its own steroid hormones. If you’re prescribed a course of treatment you usually take dexamethasone by mouth once a day, in the morning after breakfast, but always follow your doctor’s instructions. Sometimes your doctor might want you to take a dose more frequently than this. Some people may need to continue taking them if they are not eligible for biologic treatments.

Common conditions

This has led to it now becoming commonly used in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 who are severely or critically ill. The dexamethasone dose prescribed by your doctor depends on the condition being treated and will vary from person to person. It’s important that you always follow the instructions given by your doctor or pharmacist and ask them for advice if you’re not sure about anything.

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Your doctor may prescribe steroid inhalers for COPD if your symptoms get worse, or if you’ve been having a lot of flare-ups. Sometimes you may need a short course of steroid tablets if you have poorly controlled asthma, an asthma attack or a COPD flare-up. Steroids are really important in these cases to treat the inflammation in your lungs, and get you well again. Also, talk to them about whether you need to carry a steroid card.

Dexamethasone can also be given by injection directly into a joint, or the soft tissue around a joint, to reduce inflammation, for example in rheumatoid arthritis, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow or bursitis.

Clinical Question

Always get your medicines reviewed regularly so your doctor can make sure you’re on the right dose for you. The steroids used to treat asthma, COPD, and other lung conditions are not the same as the anabolic steroids which are used by some athletes. As a GP, I often see people worried about taking steroids for their lung condition.