Medically reviewed on June 7, 2018
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Ophthalmologic Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Adrenal Glucocorticoid
Uses For dexamethasone
Dexamethasone eye drops are used to treat inflammation of the eyes caused by allergies and certain conditions, including damage caused by chemical and thermal burns.
Dexamethasone is a steroid medicine that is used to relieve the redness, itching, and swelling caused by eye infections and other conditions.
Dexamethasone is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before Using dexamethasone
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For dexamethasone, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to dexamethasone or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of dexamethasone eye drops in children. Safety and efficacy have been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of dexamethasone eye drops in the elderly.
|All Trimesters||C||Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.|
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking dexamethasone, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using dexamethasone with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
- Rotavirus Vaccine, Live
Using dexamethasone with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Amtolmetin Guacil
- Choline Salicylate
- Doxorubicin Hydrochloride Liposome
- Ethinyl Estradiol
- Flufenamic Acid
- Mefenamic Acid
- Niflumic Acid
- Nimesulide Beta Cyclodextrin
- Salicylic Acid
- Sodium Salicylate
- Tiaprofenic Acid
- Tolfenamic Acid
- Vincristine Sulfate Liposome
Using dexamethasone with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of dexamethasone. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Cataract or
- Cornea (part of the eye) problems, history of or
- Glaucoma or
- Sclera (part of the eye) problems, history of—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Bacterial eye infection, acute, untreated or
- Fungal eye infection or
- Herpes simplex eye infection or
- Mycobacterial eye infection or
- Vaccinia (smallpox) eye infection or
- Varicella (chickenpox) eye infection—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
Proper Use of dexamethasone
Use dexamethasone only as directed by your doctor. Do not use more of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of too much medicine being absorbed into the body and the chance of side effects.
To use the eye drops:
- Wash your hands first with soap and water.
- Shake the bottle well before each use.
- Tilt your head back and, pressing your finger gently on the skin just beneath the lower eyelid, pull the lower eyelid away from the eye to make a space. Drop the medicine into this space.
- Let go of the eyelid and gently close your eye. Do not blink. Keep the eye closed and apply pressure to the inner corner of your eye with your finger for 1 or 2 minutes to allow the medicine to be absorbed by the eye.
- If you think you did not get the drop of medicine into your eye properly, use another drop.
- To keep the medicine as germ-free as possible, do not touch the applicator tip to any surface (including the eye). Keep the bottle tightly closed and upright when you are not using it.
If you are wearing contact lenses, remove them before putting the drops in your eyes.
The dose of dexamethasone will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of dexamethasone. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For ophthalmic dosage form (eye drops):
- For inflammation of the eye:
- Adults—One or two drops in the affected eye 4 to 6 times a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For inflammation of the eye:
If you miss a dose of dexamethasone, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Precautions While Using dexamethasone
Your eye doctor will want to examine your eyes at regular visits to make sure dexamethasone is working properly and to check for unwanted effects, especially if you will be using dexamethasone for 10 days or longer.
Check with your doctor right away if you have an eye injury, eye infection, or plan to have an eye surgery.
If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your eye doctor (ophthalmologist) right away.
Dexamethasone Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Blurred vision
- burning, dry, or itching eyes
- change in color vision
- difficulty seeing at night
- discharge, excessive tearing
- eye redness, irritation, or pain
- redness, pain, or swelling of the eye, eyelid, or inner lining of the eyelid
Incidence not known
- Difficulty in breathing or swallowing
- drooping of the upper eyelids
- fast heartbeat
- skin itching, rash, or redness
- swelling of the face, throat, or tongue
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Crusting in the corner of the eye
- feeling of having something in the eye
- increased sensitivity of the eyes to light
Incidence not known
- Bigger, dilated, or enlarged pupils
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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