What is Dexamethasone?
Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid that reduces inflammation and is also used to suppress the actions of the immune system. It is used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as lupus or pemphigus, autoimmune hemolytic anemias, allergic bronchitis, some spinal cord diseases, brain swelling and other diseases.
Who is it for?
Dexamethasone is for dogs and cats.
What are the benefits?
||Used to treat inflammation and autoimmune diseases
||Oral dosage regimen can be effectively individualized for your pet by your veterinarian
How does Dexamethasone work?
Dexamethasone has an effect on virtually every organ system in the body. Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid that blocks the production of substances that trigger allergic and inflammatory actions. Dexamethasone is used to modify the body's immune response. At lower doses it helps to reduce inflammation by decreasing the activity of certain cells and chemicals produced by the body that cause inflammation. At higher doses, it can suppress the immune system by decreasing the number of cells necessary for a proper immune response.
Is there a generic equivalent available?
This medication is a generic medication.
How is it given?
Dexamethasone is an oral tablet, given by mouth. It may be given with food to avoid stomach upset. Always follow the dosage instructions provided by your veterinarian. If you have difficulties giving the medication, contact your veterinarian. Dosage depends on the product used. Your veterinarian may recommend starting at a higher dose and then reducing the dose every few days to a week. If on long-term therapy, do not discontinue the drug abruptly. The dose needs to be tapered off over several days to weeks to allow the body to start making its own cortisol again. This medication should only be given to the pet for which it was prescribed.
Always follow the dosage instructions provided by your veterinarian. If you have difficulty giving the medication, contact your veterinarian.
This medication should only be given to the pet for whom it was prescribed.
What results can I expect?
When used to treat inflammatory conditions, the success rate is very good and improvements can be seen in several days. If the Dexamethasone is stopped, signs of the disease may reappear. Autoimmune diseases and cancers are more difficult to treat and the success rate will depend on the type and severity of the condition.
What form(s) does it come in?
This medication comes in tablet form.
Common Drug Name
What should I discuss with my veterinarian while considering Dexamethasone?
Ask your veterinarian what dose will provide the most benefit while minimizing any side effects. Also discuss how long the treatment period will be and what type of outcome is expected. You and your veterinarian should talk about any other treatment options that are recommended for your pet.
Tell your veterinarian if your pet has diabetes; stomach ulcers; Cushing's disease; a bacterial, viral or fungal infection; heart, liver or kidney disease; may be pregnant or is nursing, or if you intend to breed your pet.
Notify your veterinarian of any other medications or supplements your pet is taking. Also if your pet has had any reactions to previous medications.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
Since dosage regimens differ greatly, if you miss a dose, contact your veterinarian to determine when to give the next dose.
What is the most important information I should know?
Side effects can be minimized by tailoring the treatment regimen for your pet's specific condition. You will need to work closely with your veterinarian to determine the proper dose. If used long-term, this medication should not be stopped abruptly. The dose needs to be tapered over a course of time as determined by your veterinarian.
Who should not take it?
Not for use in animals with systemic fungal infections, some types of mange (mites), stomach ulcers, Cushing's disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or congestive heart failure. Do not use in pregnant animals. It may cause premature birth.
What side effects may be seen when taking Dexamethasone?
Side effects are usually dose dependent. If side effects occur, contact your veterinarian, who may decrease the dosage, frequency, or type of corticosteroid. The most common side effects are
increased appetite, drinking, and urination. Your pet may have more "accidents" and need to go outside or use the litter box more often.
Less common side effects include weight gain, panting, diarrhea, vomiting, and behavior changes.
Side effects of long-term use include muscle loss, weakness, and the development of diabetes or hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing's disease). The typical signs of these diseases are increased thirst,
urination, and appetite. Animals with Cushing's disease may also develop thin skin, a poor hair coat, and a "pot-belly."
Side effects may also include activation or worsening of hypothyroidism or pancreatitis.
Immune system suppression may occur, especially on higher doses, making a pet more susceptible to infection. Contact your veterinarian if your pet has a fever (over 103° F), painful urination (a sign of urinary tract infection), tiredness, sneezing, coughing, or runny eyes.
How is it stored?
Store at room temperature, in tight, light-resistant, childproof container. Keep out of reach of children and pets.
What should I do if I know of or suspect there has been an overdose?
An acute overdose is unlikely to cause problems. A chronic overdose is likely to cause signs of Cushing's disease or diabetes mellitus; both diseases commonly cause increased urinating, drinking, and
eating. Abruptly stopping long-term treatment may cause signs of Addison's disease, including vomiting, weakness, collapse and sudden death. If you know or suspect your pet has had an overdose, or if you observe any of these signs in your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately.
What should I avoid when giving my pet Dexamethasone?
Consult your veterinarian before using corticosteroids with vitamins and supplements, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, carprofen (Novox or Rimadyl), deracoxib (Deramaxx), etodolac (EtoGesic), meloxicam (Metacam),firocoxib (Previcox), tepoxalin (Zubrin); insulin, modified live vaccines, phenytoin, phenobarbital, rifampin, cyclosporine, estrogens, erythromycin, or mitotane, amphotericin B, furosemide, or thiazide, since interactions may occur.
Where is more information available?
Ask your veterinarian, consult with one of our pharmacists at 1-800-447-3021, or see the
Patient Information Sheet on this medication.