What Is Betamethasone Sodium Phosphate?

Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Jacquelyn Gilchrist

Betamethasone sodium phosphate is a generic medication that may be prescribed to treat several different medical conditions. A patient with certain types of cancer, such as leukemia may use it. It may also help treat conditions like lupus, blood disorders, and multiple sclerosis, as well as rheumatoid arthritis and severe asthma. This medication is often prescribed for those with decreased function of the adrenal gland. Betamethasone sodium phosphate is a corticosteroid drug that works to decrease inflammation by affecting how the body's immune system responds to certain triggers.

This medicine is only available as an injection, which will typically be administered at a doctor's office. Some patients may be instructed to administer the injection at home. These people will be carefully shown how to properly and safely give the injection. Before each dose, the vial of betamethasone sodium phosphate should be carefully inspected for signs of damage, such as discoloration or cloudiness. If signs of damage are detected, the patient should dispose of the vial and use a different one.

Certain special precautions must be taken while using betamethasone sodium phosphate. Extreme caution should be used when administering this drug to children, because its potential to negatively affect their growth and safety is undetermined, as of 2011. It should never be used in infants, because this can be fatal. Patients may periodically undergo laboratory tests, including blood pressure monitoring and adrenal function tests to check responses to the drug. Those who have diabetes should be aware that it can interfere with normal blood sugar maintenance.

In addition to these special precautions, patients should also talk to their doctors before receiving any vaccination. They must strive to avoid contact with people who are sick, because betamethasone sodium phosphate can suppress the immune system and render the patient more vulnerable to illness. Those who use this drug for a long period of time may be unable to naturally produce certain chemicals that the body needs after the medicine is discontinued.

Some side effects may occur with the use of betamethasone sodium phosphate, which should be reported to the prescribing physician if they become severe. Patients may experience general body discomfort, dizziness, and clumsiness. Insomnia, upset stomach, and nausea may occur. Others have reported increased appetite, headache, and facial flushing, as well as redness or pain at the injection site.

Serious side effects require immediate medical care. These can rarely include vomit with the appearance of coffee grounds, thinning of the skin, and muscle pain or wasting. Irregular heartbeat, mood changes, and unusual weight gain may occur. Patients have also reported changes in menstrual cycles, chest pain, and vision changes.

Before using betamethasone sodium phosphate, patients must disclose their other medical conditions, medications, and supplements. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding must discuss possible risks with their doctors. Betamethasone sodium phosphate may be contraindicated for use by those who have a history of tuberculosis, stomach problems, and muscle problems. It may interact with other drugs, including aspirin, barbiturates, and erythromycin.

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