The dexamethasone is an immunosuppressant and antiinflammatory steroid nature, which is classified in the group of synthetic glucocorticoids. These are drugs analogous to the hormones that come from the adrenal cortex , for which they have functions and effects similar to those produced by these hormones.The mechanism of action of dexamethasone is to selectively suppress hormonal functions such as inflammation , and various responses of the immune system . This is because it penetrates cells and attaches itself to certain receptors that are responsible for synthesizing and processing proteins that are involved in the body’s natural responses.The proteins in question are called annexins or lipocortins , and they are those that regulate the action of enzymes called Phospholipase A2 , which in turn direct the synthesis of eicosanoids , molecules such as prostaglandins, leukotrienes and thromboxanes whose function is to generate immune responses such as fever, inflammation, leukocyte transit, and contractions.

What is dexamethasone used for?

Dexamethasone, being an immunosuppressant, helps prevent or decrease the responses of the immune system , such as fever, inflammation, the transport of leukocytes (white blood cells) to injured areas and some types of pain. It is used mainly to treat autoimmune diseases , since its indiscriminate use is dangerous.

It serves to:

  • Treat diseases and disorders
  • Counteract autoimmune diseases
  • Remedy allergy diseases
  • Reduce swelling and inflammation
  • Follow up on organ transplants

It is used to treat the following diseases and disorders:

Dexamethasone is used for the treatment of multiple diseases and disorders, involving symptoms such as fever, pain, and inflammation, or alterations in adrenocortical function.

Among them are:

  • Addison’s syndrome
  • Adrenocortical insufficiency
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Some types of cancer
  • Asthma
  • Anaphylactic shock
  • Allergic conjunctivitis
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Organ transplants
  • Brain edema
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Erythema multiforme
  • ankylosing spondylitis
  • Cancerous tumors
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Malignant Hemopathies
  • Severe allergies
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Extreme otitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Rhinitis
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Pediatric bacterial meningitis
  • Dermatosis severa
  • Psoriasis
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Herpes zóster ophthalmicus

Counteract autoimmune diseases

Dexamethasone is used to fight autoimmune diseases.

Dexamethasone is a glucocorticoid that directly affects the reactions of the immune system to possible allergens, diseases, injuries and the attacks of this same system.

For this reason, it is recurred in diseases such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), autoimmune hemolytic anemia, rheumatoid arthritis and others, where the immune system attacks the body itself.

Remedy allergy diseases

Dexamethasone is widely used to treat some severe allergies , especially the following:

  • Anaphylactic shock
  • Rhinitis
  • Asthma
  • Chronic allergies
  • Food allergies
  • Drug allergies

Reduce swelling and inflammation

One of the most important effects of dexamethasone is as an anti- inflammatory , as it helps to block prostaglandin receptors, substances responsible for reactions such as inflammation, the arrival of leukocytes to lesions and edema.

Therefore, it is administered to treat:

  • Pulmonary edema
  • Brain edema
  • ankylosing spondylitis
  • Tumors
  • Organ transplants

Follow up on organ transplants

Being an immunosuppressant, dexamethasone is applied in some cases of organ transplants, as it helps to avoid rejection of the new organ, by inhibiting the natural responses of the immune system , among which are the increase in platelets, the formation of clots and inflammation, and whose objective is to defend the body from invaders.

Contraindications of dexamethasone

Dexamethasone is used to relieve allergic reactions and their symptoms.

Dexamethasone is an immunosuppressant whose administration should be under medical supervision or totally avoided, in people such as:

  • Patients with acute infections
  • Chickenpox patients
  • Patients with fungal infection
  • Patients with strong infections
  • Pregnant women
  • Lactating women

This unless the doctor in charge of the case considers the use of this medicine convenient.

Side effects of dexamethasone

Dexamethasone can cause severe side effects. Depending on the time it is administered, the patient’s history and interactions, it can cause complications and more symptoms.

Among the most common side effects of dexamethasone are:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Cushing syndrome (in some patients)
  • Fatigue
  • Increase in infections (especially fungal)

The most serious side effects of dexamethasone are:

  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Changes in mood
  • Anxiety
  • Alterations in blood glucose levels
  • Metabolic disturbances
  • Cardiac alterations

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical opinion. Consult a doctor.

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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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