Drug-induced secondary adrenocortical insufficiency may be minimized by gradual reduction of dosage. This type of relative insufficiency may persist for months after discontinuation of therapy; therefore, in any situation of stress occurring during that period, hormone therapy should be reinstituted. Since mineralocorticoid secretion may be impaired, salt and/or a mineralocorticoid should be administered concurrently.
There is an enhanced effect of corticosteroids in patients with hypothyroidism and in those with cirrhosis.
Corticosteroids should be used cautiously in patients with ocular herpes simplex for fear of corneal perforation.
The lowest possible dose of corticosteroid should be used to control the condition under treatment, and when reduction in dosage is possible, the reduction must be gradual.
Psychic derangements may appear when corticosteroids are used ranging from euphoria, insomnia, mood swings, personality changes, and severe depression to frank psychotic manifestations. Also, existing emotional instability or psychotic tendencies may be aggravated by corticosteroids.
Aspirin should be used cautiously in conjunction with corticosteroids in hypoprothrombinemia.
Steroids should be used with caution in nonspecific ulcerative colitis, if there is a probability of impending perforation, abscess or other pyogenic infection, also in diverticulitis, fresh intestinal anastomoses, active or latent peptic ulcer, renal insufficiency, hypertension, osteoporosis, and myasthenia gravis.
Growth and development of infants and children on prolonged corticosteroid therapy should be carefully followed.
Patients who are on immunosuppressant doses of corticosteroids should be warned to avoid exposure to chickenpox or measles and, if exposed, to obtain medical advice.
Intra-articular injection of a corticosteroid may produce systemic as well as local effects.
Appropriate examination of any joint fluid present is necessary to exclude a septic process.
A marked increase in pain accompanied by local swelling, further restriction of joint motion, fever, and malaise are suggestive of septic arthritis. If this complication occurs and the diagnosis of sepsis is confirmed, appropriate antimicrobial therapy should be instituted.
Local injection of a steroid into a previously infected joint is to be avoided. Corticosteroids should not be injected into unstable joints.
Although controlled clinical trials have shown corticosteroids to be effective in speeding the resolution of acute exacerbations of multiple sclerosis they do not show that they affect the ultimate outcome or natural history of the disease. The studies do show that relatively high doses of corticosteroids are necessary to demonstrate a significant effect (see Dosage and Administration section).
Since complications of treatment with glucocorticoids are dependent on the size of the dose and the duration of treatment a risk/benefit decision must be made in each individual case as to dose and duration of treatment and as to whether daily or intermittent therapy should be used.
Fluid and electrolyte disturbances:
Congestive heart failure in susceptible patients
Loss of muscle mass
Vertebral compression fractures
Aseptic necrosis of femoral and humeral heads
Pathologic fracture of long bones
Peptic ulcer with possible subsequent perforation and hemorrhage
Impaired wound healing
Thin fragile skin
May suppress reactions to skin tests
Petechiae and ecchymoses
Increased intracranial pressure with papilledema (pseudotumor cerebri) usually after treatment
Posterior subcapsular cataracts
Increased intraocular pressure
Development of cushingoid state
Suppression of growth in children
Secondary adrenocortical and pituitary unresponsiveness, particularly in times of stress, as in trauma, surgery, or illness
Decreased carbohydrate tolerance
Manifestations of latent diabetes mellitus
Increased requirements for insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents in diabetics
Negative nitrogen balance due to protein catabolism
Hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation
Subcutaneous and cutaneous atrophy
Postinjection flare, following intra-articular use
Itching, burning, tingling in the ano-genital region
To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Amneal Pharmaceuticals at 1-877-835-5472 or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
A. Intravenous or intramuscular administration. The initial dosage of dexamethasone sodium phosphate injection may vary from 0.50 mg/day to 9 mg/day depending on the specific disease entity being treated. In situations of less severity, lower doses will generally suffice while in selected patients higher initial doses may be required. Usually the parenteral dosage ranges are one-third to one-half the oral dose given every 12 hours. However, in certain overwhelming, acute, life-threatening situations, administration of dosages exceeding the usual dosages may be justified and may be in multiples of the oral dosages.
For the treatment of unresponsive shock high pharmacologic doses of this product are currently recommended. Reported regimens range from 1 mg/kg to 6 mg/kg of body weight as a single intravenous injection to 40 mg initially followed by repeat intravenous injection every 2 to 6 hours while shock persists.
For the treatment of cerebral edema in adults an initial intravenous dose of 10 mg is recommended followed by 4 mg intramuscularly every six hours until maximum response has been noted. This regimen may be continued for several days postoperatively in patients requiring brain surgery. Oral dexamethasone, 1 mg to 3 mg t.i.d., should be given as soon as possible and dosage tapered off over a period of five to seven days. Non-operative cases may require continuous therapy to remain free of symptoms of increased intracranial pressure. The smallest effective dose should be used in children, preferably orally. This may approximate 0.2 mg/kg/24 hours in divided doses.
In treatment of acute exacerbations of multiple sclerosis daily doses of 200 mg of prednisolone for a week followed by 80 mg every other day or 4 mg to 8 mg dexamethasone every other day for 1 month have been shown to be effective.
The initial dosage should be maintained or adjusted until a satisfactory response is noted. If after a reasonable period of time there is a lack of satisfactory clinical response, dexamethasone sodium phosphate injection should be discontinued and the patient transferred to other appropriate therapy. It should be emphasized that dosage requirements are variable and must be individualized on the basis of the disease under treatment and the response of the patient.
After a favorable response is noted, the proper maintenance dosage should be determined by decreasing the initial drug dosage in small decrements at appropriate time intervals until the lowest dosage which will maintain an adequate clinical response is reached. It should be kept in mind that constant monitoring is needed in regard to drug dosage. Included in the situations which may make dosage adjustments necessary are changes in clinical status secondary to remissions or exacerbations in the disease process, the patient’s individual drug responsiveness and the effect of patient exposure to stressful situations not directly related to the disease entity under treatment. In this later situation it may be necessary to increase the dosage of dexamethasone sodium phosphate injection for a period of time consistent with the patient’s condition. If after a long-term therapy the drug is to be stopped, it is recommended that it be withdrawn gradually rather than abruptly.
B. Intra-articular, soft tissue or intralesional administration. The dose for instrasynovial administration is usually 2 to 4 mg for large joints and 0.8 to 1 mg for small joints. For soft tissue and bursal injections a dose of 2 to 4 mg is recommended. Ganglia require a dose of 1 to 2 mg. A dose of 0.4 to 1 mg is used for injection into tendon sheaths. Injection into intervertebral joints should not be attempted at any time and hip joint injection cannot be recommended as an office procedure.
Intrasynovial and soft tissue injections should be employed only when affected areas are limited to 1 or 2 sites. It should be remembered that corticoids provide palliation only and that other conventional or curative methods of therapy should be employed when indicated.
Parenteral drug products should be inspected visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration, whenever solution and container permit.
Frequency of injection usually ranges from once every 3 to 5 days to once every 2 to 3 weeks. Frequent intra-articular injection may cause damage to joint tissue.
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