What is Decadron? What are indications and contraindications for its use? What to do in case of overdose? What are side effects of the drug? Below you will find answers to these and other questions.
What is Decadron? Definition of the Drug and Its Class
Decadron is a hormonal drug, it is an analogue of a substance that is produced by the adrenal cortex. Its main active agent is dexamethasone, a substance belonging to the class of corticosteroids. Dexamethasone is also the generic name of this medical remedy.
Decadron contains artificial glucocorticosteroid hormone, which has a pronounced anti-inflammatory, anti-shock, immunosuppressive (decreases the activity of immune system cells), anti-allergic and anti-toxic effect.
It stimulates the formation of proteins that inhibit the enzyme phospholipase A2, inhibits the release of arachidonic acid and the production of substances responsible for the development of inflammation and allergies (prostaglandins, endoperoxides, leukotrienes). Dexamethasone affects protein metabolism, reducing the number of globulins with increasing albumin / globulin ratio, and also increases the albumin production in the kidneys, liver, and enhances the destruction of protein in the muscles. The drug has an effect on fat metabolism: it increases the formation of fatty acids, triglycerides, redistributes fat (contributes to the accumulation of fat in the face, abdomen, and pleating). It also leads to hypercholesterolemia (increased cholesterol levels). Moreover, it has an effect on the metabolism of carbohydrates: it increases the absorption of carbohydrates, promotes the release of glucose from the liver into the blood, and activates gluconeogenesis (the formation of glucose). Dexamethasone has an antagonistic effect on vitamin D, causing a “washing out” of calcium from the bones, increasing its excretion by the kidneys.
Decadron Uses (Indications for Use)
Dexamethasone is indicated for use in conditions requiring the introduction of a fast-acting glucocorticosteroid hormone. The drug is used for:
- shock condition, which is resistant to standard treatment, including anaphylactic (allergic) shock;
- endocrine disorders (insufficiency of the adrenal cortex, congenital underdevelopment of the adrenal cortex, subacute inflammation of the thyroid gland);
- cerebral edema (with radiation injury, encephalitis, craniocerebral trauma, brain tumor, neurosurgical intervention, cerebral hemorrhage, meningitis);
- asthmatic status (complication of asthma), a sharp narrowing of the bronchi (exacerbation of asthma, chronic bronchitis), so it can be used for asthma;
- rheumatic conditions;
- severe allergic reaction;
- systemic lesions of connective tissue (collagenosis);
- malignant diseases (leukemia, adult lymphoma, leukemia in children), hypercalcemia (accumulation of calcium in the organism) while treating malignant tumors;
- acute severe dermatoses;
- diagnostic examination for suspected hyperactivity of the adrenal glands;
- blood diseases (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, hemolytic anemia, agranulocytosis);
- severe infectious illnesses;
- arthritis of various origin, epicondylitis, tendovaginitis, osteoarthritis, acute / subacute bursitis, synovitis (intra-synovial and intra-articular injection of the drug);
- lupus erythematosus, annular granuloma, keloids.
Also, it can be used for croup of any severity. According to research by J. Wells (2009), Decadrone is effective for migraine.
Decadron Injection (Tablet) During Pregnancy– Myths and Facts
In some sources, you can find that Decadron injection (or tablets) can be used to prepare for pregnancy. It allegedly reduces the formation of male sex hormones in the female body, and helps her conceive a child, so Decadron can be used in planning pregnancy (as directed by a doctor).
Also, according to these sources, an elevated level of male sex hormones in a woman’s body is called hyperandrogenism. This condition is fraught with infertility or pregnancy disruption. If you constantly lower the level of male sex hormones, then the conception and retention of pregnancy will occur. The drug is not canceled after conception, it is taken until childbirth to avoid possible complications. The drug is not harmful to patients, much more harmful than the hormonal processes in the body that cause an elevated level of male sex hormones (it is a myth!). Dexamethasone tablets in pregnancy planning and pregnancy are prescribed in small amounts, so you allegedly shouldn’t be afraid of side effects from taking the drug.
Moreover, some people write that liquid and tableted dexamethasone is used to increase the chance of conception. This medication is prescribed for women who cannot become pregnant. Dexamethasone is supposedly taken during pregnancy, because when a woman is pregnant, the drug depresses the production of male hormones in the woman’s body, allowing the fetus to bear. However, all above mentioned statements are untrue. According to religious sources, Decadron is not recommended for use during pregnancy, because at the moment there is insufficient data on the safety of this medication for the fetus. Moreover, it cannot contribute to improving the hormonal background of the woman needed for conception, since it does not belong to sex hormones.
When used intraarticularly, dexamethasone is injected into the place of inflammation at a dose of 0.2 to 6 mg (common dosage is 4 mg), repeated every 3 days or 3 weeks. Intravenous or intramuscular Decadron dosage is 0.5–10 mg / day. The maximum daily dose of dexamethasone is 80 mg. How long it last? It has a prolonged half-life. Due to its long half-life (36 to 54 hours), the medication is especially suitable in disorders where continuous corticosteroid action is needed.
In acute forms of the disease, the dosage of the drug during the day is from 4 to 20 mg, it should be used 4 times a day. The dosage then should be reduced. The amount of the drug is prescribed by the attending physician; self-medication is not recommended.
Decadron Shot and Pills – Cautions
The medication (Decadron shot or pill) should be used in caution in the following cases:
ulcers of stomach or other gastrointestinal organs;
- gastritis, including those caused by Helicobacter pylori;
- infectious, parasitic or viral diseases;
- acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV / AIDS);
- the period after vaccination;
- disorders of the cardiovascular system and other diseases.
Drug overdose is a frequent phenomenon, which is an acute clinical situation. In addition, you need to understand that intoxication can occur absolutely from any drug, if you exceed the dose. Symptoms of an overdose of Decadron include increased blood pressure, peptic ulcer, swelling, increased blood sugar, impaired consciousness. Treatment of an overdose of Decadron is symptomatic.
How to avoid overdose?
First, before taking any medication, you should always carefully read the instructions. Particular attention should be paid to contraindications and side effects.
Secondly, always listen to the advice of a doctor, since it is he / she who can choose the optimal dosage of the drug.
Thirdly, you should always follow the rules for taking medications, as you may disrupt the pharmacological action of tablets or injections.
Fourth, pay attention to the timing of the storage of tablets. Taking outdated or counterfeited drugs means risking your health.
When poisoning and overdosing with a medicine, it is very important to provide first aid competently, since it depends not only on health, but also on the life of a person. First of all, you need to call emergency care,” saying what medicine a person have taken.
Next, you should pump the stomach and, if possible, induce vomiting in the affected person. Such measures will help prevent the active substance from entering the mucous membranes. To clean the stomach, you can use activated charcoal.
The List of Decadron’s Side Effects
As a rule, possible side effects from the use of medicine are manifested by increased body weight, increased appetite, and mood swings. More rarely, the drug can cause severe undesirable consequences. The medication can cause the following severe side effects (especially in the case of prolonged use):
- Metabolic disorders: water retention, retention of sodium in the body, loss of potassium, alkalosis (increase in blood pH), increased appetite, and obesity.
- Cardiovascular disorders: thrombosis (especially in bed patients), arrhythmia, development or aggravation of chronic heart failure, increased pressure, myocardial dystrophy (non-inflammatory damage to the heart muscle), steroid vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels).
- Changes in the musculoskeletal system: muscle weakness, decreased muscle mass, compression fractures of the vertebrae, osteoporosis, aseptic necrosis (decay) of the head of the humerus or femur, fractures of long bones.
- Digestive disorders: erosion and ulcers of the stomach / intestine, nausea, bleeding, hepatomegaly (enlargement of the liver), ulcerative esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus), and pancreatitis.
- Skin changes: skin thinning, skin vulnerability, subcutaneous hemorrhage, stretches, steroid-induced acne, slow wound healing, sweating.
- Nervous disorders: fatigue, dizziness, mental disorders, steroid-induced psychosis, headache, convulsions, false signs of a brain tumor.
- Endocrine disorders: steroid-induced diabetes, Cushing’s syndrome (the so-called moon face, excess body hair growth, increased arterial pressure, menses disorders, obesity of the pituitary type), delay in sexual development in children.
- Eye disorders: increased intraocular pressure, cataract, exophthalmos (protrusion of the eyes).
- Immunity disorders: increased vulnerability to infections.
Other Decadron side effects include frequent infections, allergies, at the injection site – pigmentation or leukoderma (disappearance of pigmentation), subcutaneous fat loss, aseptic abscess (non-infectious suppuration), and redness.
As you can see, the result of the administration of the medicament may be a decrease in the work of the immune system. Therefore, when taking the drug, you should be protected from viruses and infections, taking preventive measures. In addition, cancelling the administration of the medicine may lead to withdrawal symptoms. The following problems may occur in persons that are withdrawing from using Decadron:
- bad appetite.
- bodyweight loss.
- other gastrointestinal problems.
Where to Buy Decadron?
You can buy Decadron in trusted brick-and-mortar (ordinary) pharmacies. Some people are wondering: “Where to buy online?” You can do it in many online drug stores, however, you should be very careful. Some of them offer counterfeited medicines. To avoid fake suppliers, you should check the appearance of the website, the presence of real physical address, toll number, and customer support. It should also be noted that Decadron is a prescription medication, that is, you are required to provide a prescription issued by a licensed doctor before buying Decadron.