Dexamethasone (Generic Decadron) for Inflammation Treatment
Dexamethasone is a drug that is taken by patients who need to reduce inflammation in the body. It belongs to corticosteroids that are usually produced by adrenal glands. When the body cannot produce the required amount of hormone anymore, a health specialist prescribes this drug to restore its required level. Patients take it to cope with the following health problems:
- inflammation, followed by such signs of allergy as redness, itching, swelling, and pain;
- arthritis (certain types);
- sickness during and after chemotherapy;
- certain disorders of eyes, skin, kidney, blood, and thyroid;
- bowel disorders like colitis;
- aggressive reaction of the immune system in some health conditions;
People might take the drug to treat pinkeyes and inflammation after surgery. Today, Covid-sick patients are prescribed Dexamethasone to treat cytokine storms. They occur when the immune system of a patient attacks the organism.
Dexamethasone and Coronavirus: The Latest Research
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, Dexamethasone helped patients who were hospitalized with lung insufficiency caused by Covid-19. A group of patients was randomly selected to take drugs intravenously or orally. The experimental treatment lasted for 10 days. The mortality rate was lower among the tested group than among patients who were under lung ventilation and oxygen intake. The best results experienced those who were both taking the drug and using either oxygen or invasive mechanical ventilation. It means that the combination of the two treatment approaches resulted in fewer lethal cases and disease complications caused by inflammation and lack of oxygen in the organism.
Dexamethasone: Release Form
Depending on the manufacturer, a person can find three types of Dexamethasone:
The prescription depends on a patient’s health state and comfort. For example, people who undergo the treatment at home usually prefer a tablet form. If patients cannot swallow tablets because of nausea or pathological reasons, doctors prescribe its solution form. The shot can be made intravenously as a dripping or intramuscular.
A patient should follow a doctor’s prescription and not experiment with doses. Pills must be taken during meals to prevent stomach upset. The elixir requires a measuring syringe, cup, or spoon. Pediatric patients usually take the medicine with the help of a dropping bottle. The number of drops must be decided by a health advisor. Dexamethasone comes as an original pharmaceutical product or a generic variant. That is why a doctor selects the variant that has the best release form and convenient doses and measuring tools. Kitchen tablespoons should not be used because they have different shapes. Consequently, it will be hard to measure the right dose.
Doses to Take
The main rule of a successful treatment is to do everything the health advisor says. Experiments, missed or doubled doses can result in no treatment benefits and overdose. A health advisor considers a patient’s age, weight, and health condition before prescribing the drug. Besides, pharmaceutical companies produce pills and solutions of different strengths. That is why a dose differs for every patient. Below, one can find average information about doses that doctors usually prescribe to their patients.
Patients over 18 start with 0.75 mg a day. The initial dose can be higher and make 9 mg. An average dose requires from 20 to 40 mg of Dexamethasone every day. It is better to take the drug at the same time to guarantee the best result. It is impossible to find a universal dose for pediatric patients. A dose depends on a child’s weight and age. The initial dose varies between 0.02 and 0.3 mg per one kilo of a child’s weight. The dose should not be taken once a day. Parents must divide it into three or four parts. It is better to have equal periods between all intakes. As a rule, patients take the required dose every two, three, four, or six hours, depending on the age, dose, and illness.
If a person forgets to take a shot, a solution, or a tablet, it will be necessary to take it as soon as possible. Nevertheless, one should not double the dose. So, if it is time to take the next pill or shot, it will be better to skip the previous dose. One should keep records to avoid intoxication.
One should keep the medicine in the original pack. The storage place must be protected from direct sun rays. It must be far from the heat and moisture. One should not freeze the product. It is dangerous to take the expired suspension, tablets, and elixir. One should also not store medicine within a child’s reach. If a person uses a suspension, it will be necessary to utilize the product 90 days after the bottle is opened. Speaking about the solution form, it should not be stored in a syringe. If a person opens an ampule, it will be necessary to use it immediately to prevent the spread of bacteria. The drug is sterile until a person opens it and a syringe.
When one decides to throw unused medicines away, it will be necessary to make sure that neither kids nor pets and other adults will have access to it. Another variant is to search for the FDA’s utilization website. One can find more information about utilization details there.
How to Stop Taking the Drug?
One should not stop taking the drug abruptly without the recommendations of a health advisor. A sudden stop of the drug intake can lead to such adverse effects as digestive problems, lack of appetite, nausea and vomiting, headaches, flu symptoms, sleepiness, body pain, and loss of body mass. A gradual decrease of doses is a must for those who have been taking big doses for a long time. Health experts know how to prevent the effect of drug dependence and allow the body to adjust to changes. If the symptoms of Dexamethasone dependence do not disappear after a patient stops taking the drug, it will be necessary to turn to a health advisor as soon as possible.
What to Know Before Taking Dexamethasone
Dexamethasone does not fit all patients. First off, people allergic to the main component must inform their doctors about that. Besides, a person should enlist all products and medicines that he or she cannot take because of an allergic reaction or is taken at the moment. As a rule, dexamethasone is not a monotherapy drug. So, to avoid drug interaction, a health expert must have a complete description of a patient’s bad habits, medical health history, nutrition (including supplements and superfood) preferences, and a list of drugs a patient takes at the moment.
The next thing to mention is diseases, especially acute ones. For example, fungi require medicines that can contradict Dexamethasone. Moreover, such health problems as kidney and heart failure, mental illnesses, diabetes, osteoporosis, anomalous blood pressure, myasthenia, eye infections, herpes, convulsions, ulcers, and tuberculosis might be also contradicting. So, experts do not recommend concealing any health disorders to avoid severe adverse effects of Dexamethasone. It can worsen a patient’s symptoms.
Third, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and those who plan to conceive a child must inform their health advisors about that. Health advisors might replace the drug with another medicine or recommend delaying the conception. The same concerns patients who are planning to be operated on, including tooth extractions. Patients who suffer from arthritis must be careful while taking pain killers and Dexamethasone so as not to hurt their stomach. Moreover, one must stop taking alcohol while taking any drugs.
To prevent discomfort and guarantee a better treatment effect, a person should keep to a diet that:
- excludes high-salt, diuretic, and high-sodium products;
- includes potassium-rich foods;
- excludes grapefruit and pomegranate juices that prevent the drug removal from the body;
- includes high-protein meals and beverages.
Besides, the drug is recommended to be taken with meals because it might hurt the stomach and provoke pains or indigestion.
Dexamethasone and Alcohol
One can find conflicting data concerning the combination of Dexamethasone and alcohol. On the one hand, the National Health Service has published an article about the drug. The experts state that it is safe to drink alcohol and undergo Dexamethasone treatment simultaneously. On the other hand, Drugs.com, BC Cancer, and other medical websites warn about side effects that a combination of alcohol and drug can provoke. Alcohol suppresses the reaction of the immune system to viruses and bacteria. So, a patient risks getting serious inflammation that will worsen a health condition. It also increases the risk of stomach ulcers.
One should take the drug only under the supervision of a health expert. If a person feels negative consequences after the drug intake, it is necessary to contact a health advisor and describe symptoms. A doctor can change the prescription or reduce the dose. Below, one can see a list of the most common adverse effects:
- allergy to one of the drug’s components;
- vision troubles;
- behavioral and mood changes;
- bloody coughing;
- slow or fast heartbeat;
- indigestion caused by pancreatitis;
- vomit and sickness;
- menstrual changes;
- low level of potassium that is characterized by frequent urination, thirst, spasms in legs, palpitation in a chest, numbness in the body, pins and needles in different body parts;
- high blood pressure that provokes bleeding nose, blurred vision, headaches, unexpected worries, and other discomforts.
Patients should keep antihistamines at their fingertips in case of a severe allergic reaction. Allergic reactions might be characterized by the following symptoms: swelling of body parts, skin rash, itching, and breathing difficulties.
Speaking about pediatric patients, they might have problems with growth. So, if parents do not see growth changes, it will be necessary to tell a doctor about that. In case a person notices any other weird changes in the body function, a health advisor must be aware of it.
Other Things to Know about Dexamethasone
A patient should keep appointments with a health advisor when taking Dexamethasone. A doctor assigns lab tests to see whether a patient’s body responds positively to the drug. It is especially important not to miss the doctor’s consultation for children. Sometimes the drug causes slow bone growth. That is why a health advisor must provide the required measurements to make sure that everything is fine. Moreover, a patient may be asked to record weight measurements daily. Sudden loss or gain in weight must be reported as well.
It is also essential to keep records about the taken doses of Dexamethasone. This information might help to decide the right prescription dose in case a patient moves to another city or changes a supervisor. When a person needs a supplementary dose, it will be necessary to ask a doctor about an identification card. A pharmacist will check personal data information and contacts of a health advisor who has prescribed the medicine.
People who suffer from asthma should pay attention to the color and texture of sputum during coughing attacks. Any changes signal a possible bacterial infection. That is why a patient should immediately report about them to get the required treatment and prevent serious side effects. A doctor must also be aware of other infections and viruses such as measles, tuberculosis, and chickenpox that patients might get during the treatment. Patients with diabetes must test their blood and urine sugar levels regularly because the drug can affect them. They might have to change their pills and eating habits.
If a person takes more than prescribed, it will be necessary to monitor one’s feelings and emotions. In case of side effects, it will be necessary to inform a GP about changes or call an ambulance. Professionals will provide detox help and report the overdose case to a patients’ physician.
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