Dexamethasone: Indications

Dexamethasone can be used for all conventional indications for glucocorticoids. There is special documentation available for the following uses: dexamethasone produces considerable pressure relief in the event of cerebral edema (e.g. following a tumour) or raised intracranial pressure of a different origin. It is also very efficient as an antiemetic agent in strongly emetogenic chemotherapy; it is thereby often combined with other antiemetic agents (e.g. ondansetron). It is also frequently used in context with different forms of shock, even though its use is sometimes viewed controversially (e.g. septic shock). However, its effect for the initial treatment of bacterial meningitis is well documented. Its administration before birth can reduce the incidence of respiratory distress syndrome in premature infants; it is also helpful for bronchopulmonary dysplasia after respiratory distress syndrome. Other indications are: acute mountain sickness (high altitude disease), anaphylactic reaction, angioneurotic edema, collagen disease, etc. It is used topically on the eye after cataract operations, on the skin for eczema and psoriasis, as well as intra-articularly for arthritis and osteoarthritis.

The dexamethasone suppression test (DST) is used for the differential diagnosis of Cushing's syndrome and, although controversial, for depressive diseases.

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