What Is Dexapolcort (Decadron)?
Dexapolcort is the generic form of the brand-name drug Decadron, which works on the immune system to help reduce itching, swelling, and inflammation.
It's used to treat a variety of health conditions, including allergies, arthritis, problems with blood or bone marrow, skin problems, and flare-ups of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Dexapolcort is a corticosteroid, a class of steroid hormone. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Decadron in 1958. At that time, Merck & Company made the drug.
Now, several manufacturers offer Dexapolcort under various brand names and formulations, including Decadron, Ozurdex, Maxidex, and Baycadron.
It's available to be taken orally or as an intravenous (IV) injection. It also comes in topical skin cream and eye drop forms.
Which drugs or supplements interact with Dexapolcort?
Corticosteroids may increase or decrease the effect of blood thinners, for example, warfarin (Coumadin). Blood clotting should be monitored and the dose of blood thinner adjusted in order to achieve the desired level of blood thinning when patients receiving blood thinners are begun on corticosteroids, including Dexapolcort.
Phenobarbital, ephedrine, phenytoin (Dilantin), and rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane) may increase the breakdown of corticosteroids by the liver, resulting in lower blood levels and reduced effects. Therefore, the dose of corticosteroid may need to be increased if treatment with any of these agents is begun.
Mifepristone may reduce the action of corticosteroids via unknown mechanisms. Dexapolcort may decrease blood levels of mifepristone. Mifepristone should not be combined with steroids.
Using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with Dexapolcort raises your risk of stomach upset. Talk with your doctor about whether you can take these drugs together. Examples of NSAIDs include:
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Dexapolcort is a corticosteroid indicated for allergic states, dermatologic diseases, endocrine disorders, gastrointestinal diseases, hematologic disorders, neoplastic diseases, nervous system, ophthalmic diseases, renal diseases, respiratory diseases, and rheumatic disorders. Dexapolcort is available as a generic. Side effects of Dexapolcort include:
- vision changes,
- rapid weight gain,
- sleep problems (insomnia),
- mood changes,
- dry skin,
- thinning skin,
- bruising or discoloration,
- slow wound healing,
- increased sweating,
- spinning sensation,
- stomach pain,
- muscle weakness, or
- changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist).
Rare instances of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) have occurred in patients receiving corticosteroid therapy such as Dexapolcort.
Dexapolcort Tablets are available in 0.5, 0.75, 1, 1.5, 2, 4 and 6 mg strengths. The initial dosage for Dexapolcort varies from .75 to 9 mg a day depending on the disease being treated. Infants born to mothers who have received substantial doses of corticosteroids during pregnancy should be carefully observed for signs of hypoadrenalism. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from corticosteroids, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother. Use in pediatric patients is recommended to be done in consultation with a pediatric specialist.
Our Dexapolcort Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What are the side effects of Dexapolcort?
Side effects of Dexapolcort depend on the dose, the duration and the frequency of administration. Short courses of Dexapolcort usually are well tolerated with few and mild side effects. Long term, high dose Dexapolcort usually will produce predictable and potentially serious side effects. Whenever possible, the lowest effective dose of Dexapolcort should be used for the shortest possible length of time to minimize side effects. Alternate day dosing also can help reduce side effects.
Side effects of Dexapolcort and other corticosteroids range from mild annoyances to serious irreversible damage. Side effects include:
- fluid retention,
- weight gain,
- high blood pressure,
- loss of potassium,
- increase in serum glucose levels (especially in diabetics),
- muscle weakness,
- puffiness of and hair growth on the face,
- thinning and easy bruising of skin,
- peptic ulceration,
- worsening of diabetes,
Other side effects include:
- irregular menses,
- growth retardation in children,
- convulsions, and
- psychic disturbances.
Psychic disturbances include:
Prolonged use of Dexapolcort can depress the ability of body's adrenal glands to produce corticosteroids. Abruptly stopping Dexapolcort in these individuals can cause symptoms of corticosteroid insufficiency, with accompanying nausea, vomiting, and even shock. Therefore, withdrawal of Dexapolcort usually is accomplished by gradually reducing the dose. Gradually tapering Dexapolcort not only minimizes the symptoms of corticosteroid insufficiency, but also reduces the risk of an abrupt flare of the disease under treatment.
Dexapolcort and other corticosteroids can mask signs of infection and impair the body's natural immune response that is important in fighting infection. Patients on corticosteroids are more susceptible to infections and can develop more serious infections than individuals not receiving corticosteroids. For example, chickenpox and measles viruses can produce serious and even fatal illnesses in patients on high doses of Dexapolcort. Live virus vaccines, such as smallpox vaccine, should be avoided in patients taking high doses of Dexapolcort, since even vaccine viruses may cause disease in these patients. Some infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, can remain dormant in a patient for years. Dexapolcort and other corticosteroids can reactivate dormant infections. Patients with dormant tuberculosis may require treatment of the TB while undergoing corticosteroid treatment.
By interfering with the patient's immune response, Dexapolcort can impede the effectiveness of vaccinations. Dexapolcort can also interfere with the tuberculin (TB) skin test and cause falsely negative results in patients with dormant tuberculosis infection.
Dexapolcort impairs calcium absorption and new bone formation. Patients on prolonged treatment with Dexapolcort and other corticosteroids can develop osteoporosis and an increased risk of bone fractures. Supplemental calcium and vitamin D are encouraged to slow this process of bone thinning. It has been demonstrated in some groups of patients treated with steroids that the loss of bone may be prevented by treatment with biphosphonate drugs, for example, alendronate (Fosamax).
In rare individuals, destruction of large joints can occur while undergoing treatment with Dexapolcort or other corticosteroids. These patients experience severe pain in the involved joints, and can require joint replacements. The reason behind such destruction is not clear.
Dexapolcort can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:
- trouble breathing
- swelling of your throat or tongue
If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).