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Active substance(s): DEXAMETHASONE

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This medicine is available as the above name but will be referred to as Dexamethasone Tablets throughout the
remainder of this leaflet.

Dexamethasone Tablets are steroid medicine, prescribed for many different conditions, including serious

You need to take it regularly to get the maximum benefit.

Don’t stop taking this medicine without talking to your doctor - you may need to reduce the dose gradually.

Dexamethasone Tablets can cause side effects in some people (read Section 4 below). Some problems
such as mood changes (feeling depressed, or ‘high’), or stomach problems can happen straight away. If you
feel unwell in any way, keep taking your tablets, but see your doctor straight away.

Some side effects only happen after weeks or months. These include weakness of arms and legs, or
developing a rounder face (read Section 4 for more information).

If you take it for more than 3 weeks, you will get a blue ‘steroid card’: always keep it with you and show it
to any doctor or nurse treating you.

Keep away from people who have chickenpox or shingles, if you have never had them. They could affect
you severely. If you do come into contact with chickenpox or shingles, see your doctor straight away.
Now read the rest of this leaflet. It includes other important information on the safe and effective use of this
medicine that might be especially important for you.
Please read all of this leaflet carefully before you start taking this medicine.
• Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it again.
• If you have any further questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
• This medicine has been prescribed for you. Do not pass it on to others. It may harm them, even if their
symptoms are the same as yours.
• If any of the side effects gets serious, or if you notice any side effects not listed in this leaflet, please tell your
doctor or pharmacist.
In this leaflet:
1. What this medicine is and what it is used for
2. Before you take Dexamethasone Tablets
3. How to take Dexamethasone Tablets
4. Possible side effects
5. How to store Dexamethasone Tablets
6. Further information
Dexamethasone Tablets belong to a group of medicines called steroids. Their full name is corticosteroids. These
corticosteroids occur naturally in the body, and help to maintain health and well-being. Boosting your body with
extra corticosteroid (such as dexamethasone) is an effective way to treat various illnesses involving inflammation in
the body. Dexamethasone Tablets reduce this inflammation, which could otherwise go on making your condition
worse. You must take this medicine regularly to get maximum benefit from it.
Some of the illnesses and conditions that Dexamethasone Tablets are used for include:
• swelling of the brain and increased pressure in the brain caused by a tumour
• severe allergic reactions
• blood disorders such as leukaemia and haemolytic anaemia (a reduction in red blood cells which can make the
skin pale yellow and cause weakness or breathlessness)
• sarcoidosis, an immune disease that can lead to excessive levels of calcium and vitamin D in the body
• inflammation of the heart in association with heart attack or heart surgery
• intestinal disorders, e.g. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis
• respiratory disorders such as asthma
• tuberculosis (together with appropriate chemotherapy)
• certain inflammatory skin and muscular disorders
• inflammation of the eye
• rheumatoid arthritis
• kidney inflammation caused by SLE, a disease of the immune system.
Do NOT take Dexamethasone Tablets if you
• are allergic to dexamethasone or to any of the other ingredients (see Section 6)
• have an untreated infection affecting your whole body
• have a fungal infection affecting the whole of your body, e.g. thrush
• are to have a ‘live virus’ vaccination.
If any of the above apply to you, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
Check with your doctor first
• If you have ever had severe depression or manic depression (bipolar disorder). This includes having had
depression before while taking steroid medicines like dexamethasone.
• If any of your close family has had these illnesses.
If either of these applies to you, talk to a doctor before taking Dexamethasone Tablets.
Take special care with Dexamethasone Tablets
Before taking the tablets, tell your doctor if you have any of these conditions as additional monitoring may be required:
• recently suffered from a heart attack
• tuberculosis
• kidney or liver problems, including cirrhosis
• an underactive thyroid
• high blood pressure
• diabetes, or a family history of diabetes; your doctor may need to increase your dose of diabetic treatment
• heart problems
• thinning of the bones (osteoporosis)
• raised pressure in the eye(s) (glaucoma) or a family history of glaucoma
• myasthenia gravis (which causes weakened muscles)
• intestinal or stomach problems
• had muscle weakness with steroids in the past
• an eye infection caused by herpes virus
• malaria affecting the brain
• epilepsy
• severe mental health problems or if you ever had severe depression or manic depression (bipolar disorder) or
if a family member has or has ever had these problems. This includes having had depression before while
taking steroids.
Pay attention when using Dexamethasone Tablets
Dexamethasone Tablets should not be used routinely in preterm neonates with respiratory problems.
Use in children
Long term use of steroids at high doses may cause slowing of growth in children. Your doctor may check your
child’s height at intervals during treatment and reduce the dose if any effects are seen.
Mental problems while taking Dexamethasone Tablets
Mental health problems can happen while taking steroids like Dexamethasone Tablets (see also Section 4 Possible
side effects)
• These illnesses can be serious
• Usually they start within a few days or weeks of starting the medicine.
• They are more likely to happen at high doses.
• Most of these problems go away if the dose is lowered or the medicine is stopped. However, if problems do
happen, they might need treatment.
Talk to a doctor if you (or someone taking this medicine), show any signs of mental problems. This is particularly
important if you are depressed, or might be thinking about suicide. In a few cases, mental problems have
happened when doses are being lowered or stopped.
Chickenpox, shingles, measles
These infections will become more serious during treatment with steroids, and you will require urgent specialist
care if you become exposed to someone with these infections. DO NOT stop taking the tablets.
If you have not had chickenpox, shingles or measles, you should AVOID contact with anyone who has these illnesses.
If you think that you have been exposed to any of these infections, seek immediate medical attention. Do this if
you are taking these tablets, or have taken them during the previous 3 months.
Surgery or other treatment by a doctor, dentist or nurse
If you have an accident, become ill, require any surgery (including at the dentist's), or are to have any 'live virus’
vaccinations during or after treatment with Dexamethasone Tablets, you MUST tell the person treating you that you
are taking or have taken steroids.
Taking other medicines
Please tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines, including
medicines obtained without a prescription and herbal preparations.
Some medicines may be affected by dexamethasone or they may affect how well Dexamethasone Tablets will
work. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking:
• aspirin or similar medicines
• phenytoin (to treat epilepsy)
• ephedrine (a nasal decongestant)
• barbiturates (to treat sleeplessness and epilepsy)
• ketoconazole (for fungal infections)
• rifampicin and rifabutin (antibiotics used to treat tuberculosis)
• erythromycin or similar antibiotics
• medicines used to treat HIV
• anticoagulants (to thin the blood), such as warfarin
• medicines for diabetes, including insulin; your doctor may need to increase your dose of diabetic treatment
• diuretics (water tablets)
• carbamazepine (for epilepsy, pain, manic depression)
• aminoglutethimide (a cancer medicine)
• thalidomide (to treat leprosy)
• indometacin, as this may affect dexamethasone tests for certain diseases.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding
Dexamethasone Tablets may pass to your unborn baby or into breast milk.
DO NOT take Dexamethasone Tablets if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or while breast-feeding
unless advised to by your doctor.
Steroids may affect sperm count and movement, in men.
Ask your doctor for advice before taking any medicine.
Driving and using machines
Dexamethasone Tablets are unlikely to affect your ability to operate machinery or to drive.
Important information about some of the ingredients of Dexamethasone Tablets
• lactose
If you have been told by your doctor that you have an intolerance to some sugars, contact your doctor before
taking this medicine.
Always take Dexamethasone Tablets exactly as your doctor has told you and always read the label. Your doctor
will decide on the appropriate dose to suit your condition. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
• Swallow the tablets with plenty of water, with or immediately after a meal to prevent upset stomach.
• Take the tablets regularly as advised by your doctor to obtain the maximum benefit.
Adults and the elderly: the usual starting dose is 1 to 18 tablets per day.
Your doctor will tell you the correct dose and when to take it depending on your condition, and may give you the
lowest dose to reduce side effects and to control your condition.
Your doctor may change the dose during treatment.
Elderly patients will be monitored more frequently.
Children: usually a single dose on alternate days will be given. The doctor will also monitor growth and
development at intervals during treatment.
During treatment: because of possible side effects, your doctor may monitor you at intervals during your treatment.
Taking Dexamethasone Tablets long term
You may be given a blue 'steroid treatment card': always keep it with you and show it to any doctor, pharmacist or
nurse treating you.
See your doctor if you develop any new infections while taking these tablets.
Prolonged use may lead to eye problems e.g. cataracts or glaucoma.
Withdrawal symptoms, such as fever, muscle weakness or pain, aching joints or malaise (feeling ill), may occur
after stopping long term treatment with Dexamethasone Tablets.
If you take more than you should
1. Tell your doctor, pharmacist or nearest hospital casualty department immediately.
2. Take the tablet pack/container and any remaining tablets with you so that people can see what you have taken.
3. Do this even if you feel well.
If you forget to take
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember, but if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the
missed dose and continue as usual.
Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.
If you stop taking
Stopping this medicine suddenly can be dangerous, and may cause:
• low blood pressure
• a relapse of the disease for which treatment was given.
Keep taking the tablets until your doctor tells you how and when to stop.
Do not let yourself run out of medicine, especially over the weekends or on holidays.
If you have any further questions on the use of this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Like all medicines, Dexamethasone Tablets can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. Do not be
alarmed by this list of possible side effects. You may not experience any of them.
Some side effects only happen after weeks or months.
Seek medical help immediately if you have any of the following allergic reactions:
• difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat
• severe itching of the skin, with a red rash or raised lumps.
Also seek immediate medical attention if you have come in contact with anyone suffering from chickenpox,
shingles or measles.
Serious effects: tell a doctor straight away
Steroids including dexamethasone can cause serious mental health problems.
These are common in both adults and children. They can affect about 5 in every 100 people taking medicines like
Dexamethasone Tablets.
• Feeling depressed, including thinking about suicide.
• Feeling high (mania) or moods that go up and down.
• Feeling anxious, having problems sleeping, difficulty in thinking or being confused and losing your memory.
• Feeling, seeing or hearing things which do not exist. Having strange and frightening thoughts, changing how
you act or having feelings of being alone.
If you notice any of these problems talk to a doctor straight away.
Tell your doctor if you get any of the following symptoms:
• headache
• acne
• a feeling of dizziness or spinning
• increased sweating
• nausea
• changes in vision
• malaise (feeling ill)
• slow wound healing
• hiccoughs
• thinned, delicate skin
• fits
• difficulty swallowing, sore throat, a feeling of chest pain (which may be signs of a fungal infection in the
oesophagus (gullet))
• stomach pain and discomfort, swollen abdomen
• increased appetite
• raised blood pressure
• salt imbalances, fluid retention
• swelling and weight gain of the body and face
• high blood sugar, with symptoms such as excessive thirst
• increased requirement for diabetic medication
• muscle weakness and wasting
• thinning of bone with an increased risk of fractures
• pain behind the ribs radiating towards the back, often worse when lying down, nausea, vomiting, fever. This
may be due to inflammation of your pancreas
• bruising and unusual skin markings or rash
• raised pressure in the eye(s) (glaucoma), cataracts
• irregular periods or absence of periods in women
• increase in body and facial hair growth
• slow growth or development in children and adolescents
• increased frequency or severity of infections.
Blood or skin tests: tell the doctor or nurse if you are having blood tests for bacterial infection, or skin tests, as the
results may be affected.
Reporting of side effects
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. This includes any side effects not listed in this leaflet.
You can also report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme at: By reporting
side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.
• Keep out of the sight and reach of children.
• Do not take after the expiry date which is stated on the blister, carton/label. The expiry date refers to the last
day of that month.
• Do not store above 25°C. Store in the original package to protect from light.
• Do not throw it away with your household waste or in water. Return all the unwanted medicine to your
pharmacist. This will help to protect the environment.
• If the tablets become discoloured or show sign of any deterioration, you should seek the advice of your pharmacist.
What Dexamethasone Tablets contain
Each tablet contains 500 micrograms of dexamethasone. The other ingredients are lactose, calcium phosphate
dibasic dihydrate, corn starch, magnesium stearate and purified water. (See end of Section 2 for further information
on lactose).
What Dexamethasone Tablets look like and contents of the pack
Dexamethasone Tablets are white, round, marked “MSD” on one side and with a break-line on the reverse.
Dexamethasone Tablets are available in blister pack of 20, 30 and 60 tablets.
PL 15814/1197


Dexamethasone Tablets are manufactured by Laboratorio Medinfar – Produtos Farmaceuticos, S.A., Amadora,
Portugal or Farmalabor – Produtos Farmaceuticos, S.A., Condeixa-a-Nova, Portugal.
Procured from within the EU and repackaged by the Product Licence Holder: O.P.D. Laboratories Ltd., Unit 6
Colonial Way, Watford, Herts WD24 4PR.
Leaflet revision and issue date (Ref.): 13.10.2015.
To request a copy of this leaflet in Braille, large print or audio please call 01923 332 796.

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Source: Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.