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What Is Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Dexamethasone sodium phosphate is a glucocorticosteroid medication used in the treatment of inflammation. The drug suppresses immune responses to minimize swelling and other immune reactions and can be used in the management of a variety of conditions. Like other steroids, it can be dangerous if used long-term. If the benefits of long-term use outweigh the risks, this may be acceptable, but in other instances, it may be recommended for short courses only and will be used with care.

A number of dosage formats including pills and injections are available. A doctor may recommend dexamethasone sodium phosphate for the treatment of acute allergies, asthma, and autoimmune diseases like arthritis. It can also be used in the management of some cancers, shock, and endocrine imbalances. The dosage depends on the condition, the patient’s weight, and complicating factors like medical history.

This drug can also be used for diagnostic purposes. In patients with suspected Cushing’s disease, dexamethasone sodium phosphate may be used in a challenge test to determine adrenal function. The test involves taking a series of samples before and after an administration of a dose of the medication to see how it affects cortisol levels in the blood. It can be a useful diagnostic tool in combination with a full evaluation.

Patients who take dexamethasone sodium phosphate can develop symptoms like increased appetite and irritability. People who are on the medication for an extended period of time also start producing fewer glucocorticoids naturally, because their bodies adapt to the higher level caused by the medication. If they stop taking the drug abruptly, the body may not be able to catch up, and their levels may drop to dangerously low levels. When a patient is ready to go off dexamethasone sodium phosphate, it may be necessary to taper off to allow the body to adjust before fully stopping medication therapy.

Other medications can interact with dexamethasone sodium phosphate, including over the counter drugs and supplements. Before starting therapy, it is a good idea to go over a patient’s medical history, including all drugs currently being used. If there are any contraindications or potential conflicts, they can be addressed before treatment begins; it may be necessary to temporarily stop a medication, consider a different steroid, or evaluate other options for treating the patient’s condition. For endocrine disorders, it can be particularly helpful to meet with a specialist who can provide the best possible treatments, using the latest available information on the subject.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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