Dexamethasone

Skeletal formula of dexamethasone
Ball-and-stick model of the dexamethasone molecule
Dexamethasone is a type of corticosteroid medication. It is used in the treatment of many conditions, including rheumatic problems, a number of skin diseases, severe allergies, asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease, croup, brain swelling, and along with antibiotics in tuberculosis. In adrenocortical insufficiency, it should be used together with a medication that has greater mineralocorticoid effects such as fludrocortisone. In preterm labor, it may be used to improve outcomes in the baby. It may be taken by mouth, as an injection into a muscle, or intravenously. The effects of dexamethasone are frequently seen within a day and last for about three days.

The long-term use of dexamethasone may result in thrush, bone loss, cataracts, easy bruising, or muscle weakness. It is pregnancy category C in the United States meaning use should be based on benefits being predicted to be greater than risks. In Australia, it is category A, meaning it has been frequently used in pregnancy and not been found to cause problems to the baby. It should not be taken when breastfeeding. Dexamethasone has anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant effects.

Dexamethasone was first made in 1957. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system. Dexamethasone is not expensive. In the United States a month of medication typically costs less than 25 USD. In India a course of treatment for preterm labor is about 0.5 USD. It is available in most areas of the world.

Dexamethasone is used to treat many inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and bronchospasm. Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, a decrease in numbers of platelets due to an immune problem, responds to 40 mg daily for four days; it may be administered in 14-day cycles. It is unclear whether dexamethasone in this condition is significantly better than other glucocorticoids.

It is also given in small amounts before and/or after some forms of dental surgery, such as the extraction of the wisdom teeth, an operation which often leaves the patient with puffy, swollen cheeks.

Dexamethasone is commonly given as a treatment for croup in children, as a single dose can reduce the swelling of the airway to improve breathing and reduce discomfort.

This page was last edited on 21 June 2018, at 00:13 (UTC).
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dexamethasone under CC BY-SA license.

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