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Betamethasone Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to betamethasone: injection suspension

Along with its needed effects, betamethasone 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 or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking betamethasone:

Incidence Not Known

  • Blindness
  • bloating
  • bloody or black, tarry stools
  • blue lips and fingernails
  • blurred vision
  • bone pain
  • bowel or bladder dysfunction
  • bulging soft spot on the head of an infant
  • change in ability to see colors, especially blue or yellow
  • changes in skin color, pain, tenderness, or swelling of the foot or leg
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • chills
  • constipation
  • cough
  • coughing that sometimes produces a pink frothy sputum
  • darkened urine
  • decrease in height
  • decrease in the amount of urine
  • decreased urine
  • decreased vision
  • difficult, fast, noisy breathing
  • difficulty swallowing
  • dilated neck veins
  • discouragement
  • dry mouth
  • extreme tiredness or weakness
  • eye pain
  • eyeballs bulge out of the eye sockets
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • feeling sad or empty
  • fever
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • headache
  • hives, skin rash
  • impaired wound healing
  • increased sweating
  • increased thirst
  • indigestion
  • irregular breathing
  • irritability
  • lack of appetite
  • large, hive-like swelling on face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or genitals
  • lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • lower back or side pain
  • mood changes
  • muscle cramp, pain, tenderness, wasting, or weakness
  • nausea
  • nervousness
  • numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
  • pain in the back, ribs, arms, or legs
  • pain in the chest, groin, or legs, especially the calves
  • painful, swollen joints
  • pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • pale skin
  • pounding in the ears
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • redness, soreness, or itching skin
  • right upper abdominal pain and fullness
  • seizures
  • severe, sudden headache
  • slow heartbeat
  • slurred speech
  • sores, welts, or blisters
  • stomach distention
  • stomach pain or burning
  • sudden loss of coordination
  • sudden, severe weakness or numbness in the arm or leg
  • swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs
  • tearing
  • tightness in the chest
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
  • troubled breathing at rest
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vision changes
  • vomiting
  • weight gain
  • yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects of betamethasone 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:

Incidence Not Known

  • Abnormal fat deposits
  • darkening or lightening of normal skin color
  • dry, scaly skin
  • increased appetite
  • increased sweating
  • lightening of treated areas of dark skin
  • moon face
  • thinning hair
  • weight gain

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to betamethasone: compounding powder, injectable solution, injectable suspension, oral syrup, oral tablet

Cardiovascular

Frequency not reported: Bradycardia, cardiac arrest, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac enlargement, circulatory collapse, congestive heart failure, fat embolism, hypertension, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in premature infants, myocardial rupture following recent myocardial infarction, tachycardia, thrombophlebitis, vasculitis[Ref]

Endocrine

Frequency not reported: Development of cushingoid state, adrenocortical and pituitary unresponsiveness (particularly during stress, e.g. trauma, surgery, illness), moon face[Ref]

Gastrointestinal

Frequency not reported: Abdominal distension, bowel/bladder dysfunction (intrathecal administration), nausea, pancreatitis, peptic ulcer with possible perforation and hemorrhage, perforation of the small bowel and large intestine (particularly in inflammatory bowel disease patients), ulcerative esophagitis[Ref]

Immunologic

Frequency not reported: Decreased resistance to infection[Ref]

Ocular

Rare (less than 0.1%): Blindness (periocular injection)

Frequency not reported: Exophthalmos, glaucoma, increased intraocular pressure, posterior subcapsular cataracts, vision blurred[Ref]

Musculoskeletal

Frequency not reported: Suppression of growth in pediatric patients, Charcot-like arthropathy, loss of muscle mass, muscle weakness, osteoporosis, pathologic fracture of long bones, post-injection flare (intra-articular use), steroid myopathy, tendon rupture, vertebral compression fractures[Ref]

Hypersensitivity

Frequency not reported: Anaphylactoid reaction, anaphylaxis[Ref]

Metabolic

Frequency not reported: Decreased carbohydrate and glucose tolerance, increased requirement for insulin or oral hypoglycemics, fluid retention, hypokalemic alkalosis, potassium loss, sodium retention, increased appetite, negative nitrogen balance due to protein catabolism, weight gain[Ref]

Dermatologic

Frequency not reported: Angioedema, acne, allergic dermatitis, cutaneous and subcutaneous atrophy, dry scaly skin, ecchymosis and petechiae, erythema, hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, increased sweating, rash, sterile abscess, striae, thin fragile skin, thinning scalp hair, urticaria[Ref]

Nervous system

Frequency not reported: Syncope, convulsions, headache, increased intracranial pressure with papilledema (pseudotumor cerebri) usually following treatment discontinuation, neuritis, neuropathy, paresthesia, vertigo, arachnoiditis (intrathecal), meningitis (intrathecal), paraparesis/paraplegia (intrathecal), sensory disturbances (intrathecal)[Ref]

Psychiatric

Frequency not reported: Depression, emotional instability, euphoria, insomnia, mood swings, personality changes, psychic disorders[Ref]

Other

Frequency not reported: Edema, impaired wound healing, suppressed reactions to skin tests, calcinosis (intra-articular or intralesional use), abnormal fat deposits, malaise[Ref]

Genitourinary

Frequency not reported: Glucosuria, increased or decreased motility and number of spermatozoa[Ref]

Hepatic

Frequency not reported: Elevation in serum liver enzyme, hepatomegaly[Ref]

Serum liver enzyme elevations were usually reversible upon discontinuation.[Ref]

Respiratory

Frequency not reported: Pulmonary edema, hiccups[Ref]

References

1. "Product Information. Celestone Soluspan (betamethasone)." Merck & Company Inc, Whitehouse Station, NJ.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.

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