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Hexadrol Side Effects

Generic Name: dexamethasone

Note: This document contains side effect information about dexamethasone. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Hexadrol.

For the Consumer

Applies to dexamethasone: oral elixir, oral solution, oral tablet

Along with its needed effects, dexamethasone (the active ingredient contained in Hexadrol) 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 while taking dexamethasone:

More common
  • Aggression
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • blurred vision
  • decrease in the amount of urine
  • dizziness
  • fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • headache
  • irritability
  • mental depression
  • mood changes
  • nervousness
  • noisy, rattling breathing
  • numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
  • pounding in the ears
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of the fingers, hands, feet, or lower legs
  • trouble thinking, speaking, or walking
  • troubled breathing at rest
  • weight gain
Incidence not known
  • Abdominal cramping and/or burning (severe)
  • abdominal pain
  • backache
  • bloody, black, or tarry stools
  • cough or hoarseness
  • darkening of skin
  • decrease in height
  • decreased vision
  • diarrhea
  • dry mouth
  • eye pain
  • eye tearing
  • facial hair growth in females
  • fainting
  • fatigue
  • fever or chills
  • flushed, dry skin
  • fractures
  • fruit-like breath odor
  • full or round face, neck, or trunk
  • heartburn and/or indigestion (severe and continuous)
  • increased hunger
  • increased thirst
  • increased urination
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of sexual desire or ability
  • lower back or side pain
  • menstrual irregularities
  • muscle pain or tenderness
  • muscle wasting or weakness
  • nausea
  • pain in back, ribs, arms, or legs
  • painful or difficult urination
  • skin rash
  • sleeplessness
  • sweating
  • trouble healing
  • trouble sleeping
  • unexplained weight loss
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vision changes
  • vomiting
  • vomiting of material that looks like coffee grounds

Some side effects of dexamethasone 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:

More common
  • Increased appetite
Incidence not known
  • Abnormal fat deposits on the face, neck, and trunk
  • acne
  • dry scalp
  • lightening of normal skin color
  • red face
  • reddish purple lines on the arms, face, legs, trunk, or groin
  • swelling of the stomach area
  • thinning of the scalp hair

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to dexamethasone: compounding powder, inhalation aerosol with adapter, injectable solution, injectable suspension, intravenous solution, oral concentrate, oral liquid, oral tablet

General

The most commonly occurring side effects have included alteration in glucose tolerance, behavioral and mood changes, increased appetite, and weight gain; the incidence generally correlates with dosage, timing of administration, and duration of treatment.[Ref]

Psychiatric

A wide range of psychiatric reactions including affective disorders (e.g., irritable, euphoric, depressed, labile mood, and suicidal ideation) psychotic reactions (e.g., mania, delusions, hallucinations, aggravation of schizophrenia), behavioral disturbances, irritability, anxiety, sleep disturbances and cognitive dysfunction (e.g., confusion, amnesia) have been reported. These reactions have been reported in adults and children. In adults, the occurrence of severe reactions has been estimated to be about 5% to 6%.[Ref]

Frequency not reported: Depression, affective disorders, anxiety, emotional instability, euphoria, insomnia, mood swings, personality changes, psychic disorders, confusional states, anxiety, abnormal behavior, irritability, aggravated schizophrenia[Ref]

Nervous system

Frequency not reported: Convulsions, headache, increased intracranial pressure with papilledema (pseudotumor cerebri) usually following discontinuation of treatment, benign intracranial hypertension, neuropathy[Ref]

Gastrointestinal

Frequency not reported: Abdominal distention, nausea, pancreatitis, peptic ulcer, perforation of the small and large intestine, ulcerative esophagitis, gastric hemorrhage, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dyspepsia, nausea, flatulence[Ref]

Hypersensitivity

Frequency not reported: Anaphylactoid reaction, anaphylaxis, angioedema[Ref]

Endocrine

Frequency not reported: Cushingoid state, hirsutism, secondary adrenocortical and pituitary unresponsiveness (particularly in times of stress, as in trauma, surgery, or illness), moon face[Ref]

Metabolic

Frequency not reported: Decreased carbohydrate and glucose tolerance, hyperglycemia, glycosuria, manifestations of latent diabetes, hypokalemic alkalosis, potassium loss, sodium retention, increased appetite, negative nitrogen balance due to protein catabolism, weight gain, metabolic acidosis, hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, dyslipidemia[Ref]

Ocular

Frequency not reported: Exophthalmos, glaucoma, increased intraocular pressure, posterior subcapsular cataracts, blindness, chorioretinopathy, worsening of symptoms associated with corneal ulcers, retinopathy of prematurity[Ref]

Rare instances of blindness have been associated with corticosteroid intralesional therapy around the face and head.[Ref]

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, syncope, tachycardia, thromboembolism, thrombophlebitis, vasculitis, edema[Ref]

Musculoskeletal

Frequency not reported: Suppression of growth in pediatric patients, aseptic necrosis of femoral and humeral heads, calcinosis, Charcot-like atrophy, loss of muscle mass, muscle weakness, steroid myopathy. osteoporosis, pathologic fracture of long bones, postinjection flare, tendon rupture, particularly of the Achilles tendon, vertebral compression fractures, myalgia, muscle atrophy, osteonecrosis, neuropathic arthralgia, growth retardation[Ref]

Corticosteroids can cause a dose-dependent inhibition of growth in infancy, childhood, and adolescence due to it causing early closure of the epiphyses, which may be irreversible.[Ref]

Dermatologic

Frequency not reported: Acne, allergic dermatitis, dry scaly skin, ecchymosis, hirsutism, petechiae, erythema, hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, impaired wound healing, increased sweating, rash, sterile abscess, striae, suppressed reactions to skin tests, thin fragile skin, thinning scalp hair, urticaria, hypertrichosis, angioedema, skin atrophy, hyperhidrosis, pruritus, burning or tingling especially in the perineal area (after IV injection), telangiectasia, pigment disorders[Ref]

Hematologic

Frequency not reported: Leucocytosis, lymphopenia, eosinopenia, polycythemia, abnormal coagulation, polymorphonuclear leukocytosis[Ref]

Genitourinary

Frequency not reported: Menstrual irregularities, amenorrhea, increased or decreased motility and number of spermatozoa, increased urine calcium[Ref]

Hepatic

Frequency not reported: Hepatomegaly, elevation in liver enzymes[Ref]

Immunologic

Frequency not reported: Opportunistic infection, exacerbation of latent infections, decreased resistance to infection, immunosuppression, candidiasis, chicken pox (varicella)

Other

Frequency not reported: Vertigo, abnormal fat deposits, malaise, sterile abscess, impaired healing, fatigue, malaise

Respiratory

Frequency not reported: Hiccups, pulmonary edema

References

1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

2. "Product Information. Dexamethasone (dexamethasone)." Par Pharmaceutical Inc (formerly Qualitest Pharmaceuticals Inc), Huntsville, AL.

3. "Product Information. Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate (dexamethasone)." West-Ward Pharmaceutical Corporation, Eatontown, NJ.

4. Sechi GP, Piras MR, Demurtas A, Tanca S, Rosati G "Dexamethasone-induced schizoaffective-like state in multiple sclerosis: prophylaxis and treatment with carbamazepine." Clin Neuropharmacol 10 (1987): 453-7

5. "Product Information. Decadron (dexamethasone)." Merck & Co, Inc, West Point, PA.

6. Carroll BJ, Schroeder K, Mukhopadhyay S, Greden JF, Feinberg M, Ritchie J, Tarika J "Plasma dexamethasone concentrations and cortisol suppression response in patients with endogenous depression." J Clin Endocrinol Metab 51 (1980): 433-7

7. Jaime Vazquez J "Persistent hiccup as a side-effect of dexamethasone treatment." Hum Exp Toxicol 12 (1993): 52

8. Kanwar AJ, Kaur S, Dhar S, Ghosh S "Hiccup--a side-effect of pulse therapy." Dermatology 187 (1993): 279

9. Fadul CE, Lemann W, Thaler HT, Posner JB "Perforation of the gastrointestinal tract in patients receiving steroids for neurologic disease." Neurology 38 (1988): 348-52

10. McDonnell M, Evans N "Upper and lower gastrointestinal complications with dexamethasone despite H2 antagonists." J Paediatr Child Health 31 (1995): 152-4

11. Whitmore SE "Dexamethasone injection-induced generalized dermatitis." Br J Dermatol 131 (1994): 296-7

12. Ludvik B, Clodi M, Kautzky-Willer A, Capek M, Hartter E, Pacini G, Prager R "Effect of dexamethasone on insulin sensitivity, islet amyloid polypeptide and insulin secretion in humans." Diabetologia 36 (1993): 84-7

13. New MI, Peterson RE, Saenger P, Levine LS "Evidence for an unidentified ACTH-induced steroid hormone causing hypertension." J Clin Endocrinol Metab 43 (1976): 1283-93

14. Tsoi WW "Cushing's syndrome caused by analgesic/dexamethasone preparation." Ann Pharmacother 28 (1994): 1411

15. Spenney JG, Eure CA, Kreisberg RA "Hyperglycemic, hyperosmolar, nonketoacidotic diabetes. A complication of steroid and immunosupressive therapy." Diabetes 18 (1969): 107-10

16. Francois J "Corticosteroid glaucoma." Ann Ophthalmol 9 (1977): 1075-80

17. Godel V, Regenbogen L, Stein R "On the mechanism of corticosteroid-induced ocular hypertension." Ann Ophthalmol 10 (1978): 191-6

18. Bluming AZ, Zeegen P "Cataracts induced by intermittent Decadron used as an antiemetic." J Clin Oncol 4 (1986): 221-3

19. Kobayashi Y, Akaishi K, Nishio T, Kobayashi Y, Kimura Y "Posterior subcapsular cataract in nephrotic children receiving steroid therapy." Am J Dis Child 128 (1974): 671-3

20. Schmidt GB, Meier MA, Sadove MS "Sudden appearance of cardiac arrhythmias after dexamethasone." JAMA 221 (1972): 1402-4

21. Rao G, Zikria EA, Miller WH, Samadani SR, Ford WB "Cardiac arrhythmias after dexamethasone." JAMA 222 (1972): 1185

Some side effects of Hexadrol may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

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