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Medidex Side Effects

Generic Name: dexamethasone

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

For the Consumer

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

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by dexamethasone (the active ingredient contained in Medidex). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when 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

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with dexamethasone may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

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


Cardiovascular side effects have included bradycardia, cardiac arrest, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac enlargement, circulatory collapse, congestive heart failure, fat embolism, hypertension, myocardial rupture following recent myocardial infarction, edema, pulmonary edema, syncope, tachycardia, thromboembolism, thrombophlebitis and vasculitis.[Ref]


Musculoskeletal side effects have included muscle weakness, steroid myopathy, loss of muscle mass, osteoporosis, vertebral compression fractures, aseptic necrosis of femoral and humoral heads, pathologic fracture of long bones, and tendon rupture.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects have included peptic ulcer with potential perforation and hemorrhage, perforation of small and large bowel, pancreatitis, abdominal distention, nausea, increased appetite, and ulcerative esophagitis.[Ref]


Endocrine side effects have included development of cushingoid state, suppression of growth in children, and secondary adrenocortical and pituitary unresponsiveness.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included convulsions, increased intracranial pressure with papilledema, vertigo, myalgia, arthralgia, malaise, headache, hiccups, and psychic disturbances.[Ref]


Metabolic side effects have included negative nitrogen balance due to protein catabolism, decreased carbohydrate and glucose tolerance, weight gain, hirsutism, hypokalemic alkalosis, and increased requirements for insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents in diabetics.[Ref]


Ocular side effects have included posterior subcapsular cataracts, increased intraocular pressure, glaucoma, and exophthalmos.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects have included impaired wound healing, thin fragile skin, petechiae and ecchymoses, dry scaly skin, erythema, acne, thinning scalp hair, urticaria, increased sweating, rash, striae, allergic dermatitis, urticaria, angioneurotic edema, and suppression of skin test reactions.[Ref]


Psychiatric side effects have included euphoria, insomnia, mood swings, personality changes, severe depression, and psychotic manifestations.[Ref]


Hematologic side effects have included rare reports of thromboembolism.[Ref]


Genitourinary effects have included increase/decrease in motility and number of spermatozoa in men and menstrual irregularities in women.[Ref]


Hepatic side effects have included reports of reversible hepatomegaly. Three case reports of children treated with high dose dexamethasone (the active ingredient contained in Medidex) describe the earliest diagnosis of hepatomegaly as early as 8 days from the start of therapy.[Ref]


Hypersensitivity side effects have included anaphylactoid reactions, anaphylaxis and angioedema.[Ref]


Renal side effects have included fluid retention, sodium retention, and potassium loss,[Ref]


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

2. 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

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

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

5. 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

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

7. 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15. 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

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

17. 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

18. 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

Not all side effects for Medidex may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

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. 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.