Dexamethasone is a type of medicine called corticosteroid. corticosteroid drugs are derivatives of cortisol and aldosterone cortical hormones that are produced naturally by the adrenal glands. They are often simply called steroids, but it should be noted that these are very different from another group of steroids, called anabolic steroids, which gained notoriety due to abuse by athletes and bodybuilders.
Corticosteroids have many important functions on every organ. If the natural levels of steroid hormones is too low because the adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones, it must be treated with replacement therapy to the body to function normally. Dexamethasone is used to treat disorders of the adrenal glands called congenital adrenal hyperplasia. People with this condition lack an enzyme needed by the adrenal glands to produce cortisol and aldosterone, and without these hormones, the adrenal glands produce too many male hormones (androgens). This causes early (or inappropriate) appearance of male characteristics. Taking dexamethasone per day can return to normal hormone levels.
Corticosteroids are also involved in controlling inflammatory responses in the body. Dexamethasone has anti-inflammatory and is used to reduce inflammation in various diseases and disorders.
Dexamethasone decreases inflammation by acting within cells to prevent the release of certain chemicals that are essential for the immune system. These chemicals are normally involved in producing immune and allergic reactions. By decreasing the release of these substances in a particular area, reducing inflammation. This can help control many diseases characterized by excessive inflammation. They include severe allergic reactions, inflammation of the lungs in asthma and rheumatoid arthritis in.
Dexamethasone reduced the number of white blood cells circulating in the blood. This, with a decrease of inflammatory chemicals, can prevent rejection of organ transplants, which prevents the body from attacking foreign tissue. This is useful in treating certain types of leukemia, which is extremely high white blood cell production, and also to treat some diseases that are caused by the immune system attacks the tissues of the body (autoimmune diseases).
Usefulness of Dexamethasone
- Back to normal hormones in the adrenal gland disorder called congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
- Studies to determine the cause of Cushing's syndrome (dexamethasone suppression test).
- Reduction of cerebral edema, increased pressure inside the skull associated with brain tumors.
- Prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy for cancer.
Dexamethasone can also be used to treat various diseases and conditions that require either reducing inflammation or suppressing the immune system. Among these.
- Severe allergic reactions such as anaphylactic shock.
- Rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica.
- inflammatory muscle diseases, such as polymyositis.
- Flare-ups of multiple sclerosis.
- Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
- Inflammation of the liver (hepatitis).
- renal inflammatory diseases such as nephrotic syndrome.
- inflammatory lung diseases such as asthma, COPD, aspiration pneumonia, lung disease, allergies, a farmer and breeder of pigeons in the lungs, Loeffler's syndrome, cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis.
- inflammatory disease called systemic lupus erythematosus, which can affect many organs throughout the body and is caused by the immune system attacks the connective tissues in the body.
- inflammatory skin diseases, including pemphigus, bullous pemphigoid and erythema multiforme (Stevens-Johnson syndrome).
- inflammatory eye diseases such as uveitis, optic neuritis, chorioretinitis, iridocyclitis, the temporal artery.
- Rare by inflammation in the arteries (inflammation of the nodular).
- Anemia caused by the immune system attacks the red blood cells (autoimmune hemolytic anemia).
- bone marrow cancer (multiple myeloma).
- lymph node cancer (lymphoma).
- idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura.
- Breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
- This avoids the immune system attacks the transplanted organ, eg heart, liver, kidneys, etc.