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Read time: 23 mins
Last updated: 06 May 2020
Published: 24 Jul 2020

4.1 Therapeutic indications


For use in certain endocrine and non-endocrine disorders responsive to corticosteroid therapy

Systemic (intravenous or intramuscular) administration

Dexamethasone solution for injection is recommended for systemic administration by intravenous or intramuscular injection when oral therapy is not feasible or desirable in the following conditions:

Endocrine disorders

Primary or secondary adrenocortical insufficiency

(Hydrocortisone or cortisone is the first choice, but synthetic analogues may be used with mineralocorticoids where applicable and, in infancy, mineralocorticoid supplementation is particularly important)

Non-endocrine disorders

Dexamethasone solution for injection may be used in the treatment of non-endocrine corticosteroid-responsive conditions, including:

Allergy and anaphylaxis

Angioneurotic oedema and anaphylaxis

Gastrointestinal disorders

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis

Infection (with appropriate chemotherapy)

Miliary tuberculosis and endotoxic shock

Neurological disorders

Raised intracranial pressure secondary to cerebral tumours and infantile spasms. In addition, dexamethasone for injection is used as an adjunct in the control of cerebral oedema caused by brain tumours or associated with neurosurgery, but not in those cases where the oedema is caused by head injury.

Respiratory disorders

Bronchial asthma and aspiration pneumonitis.

Skin disorders

Toxic epidermal necrolysis


Adjunctive treatment where high pharmacological doses are needed. Treatment is an adjunct to and not a substitute for, specific and supportive measures the patient may require. Dexamethasone has been shown to be beneficial when used in the early treatment of shock, but it may not influence overall survival.

Local administration

Dexamethasone solution for injection is suitable for intra-articular or soft-tissue injection as adjunctive therapy for short-term administration in:

Soft-tissue disorders

Such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tenosynovitis

Intra-articular disorders

Such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis with an inflammatory component

Dexamethasone solution for injection may be injected intralesionally in selected skin disorders such as cystic acne vulgaris, localised lichen simplex, and keloids.

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Drug Licencing

Drugs appearing in this section are approved by UK Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), & the European Medicines Agency (EMA).