8 weeks pregnant and taking dexamethasone

  1. hi would really welcome some advice have had ivf tratment for several years and am noe fianally pregnant hoever the dr has px dexamethasone 1mg twice a day my side effects are bloating ti stomach and face area not sleeping at night for more than about 4 hours they say this is normal im not convinced and what harm is this medication having on an unborn child i feel bad in a way to question the dr who has got me this far in the pregnancy but am very concerned many thanks in advance for your comments
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    About shirley297

    Joined: Apr '04; Posts: 3


  3. by   lady_jezebel
    I found a website (2003) that describes it as category "C" (ie. no studies in pregnant women), but recommends switching to prednisone if a steroid is needed:


    A totally unrelated bit of info -- it was recently reported in the news that dexamethasone can cause brain damage in premature infants. New research findings. As you probably know, dexamethasone was widely given to premies to help with lung development (and prevent chronic lung disease) -- new research shows that this drug can cause a baby's IQ to decrease by several points, sometimes significantly! Supposedly there are alternate drugs that can more safely be administered for the same purpose.

    Congrats on pregnancy. I'm pregnant, too (week 14). How far along are you?

  4. by   lady_jezebel
    Once again, this is just for info. This doesn't apply to your case, but you may want to talk to a pharmacist or another doc to see if there are also new recommendations regarding antenatal administration of this drug

    "Dexamethasone (generic name: Glucocorticoid) is a drug therapy routinely given to newborns to prevent or treat chronic lung disease. Recent studies have linked Dexamethasone with serious side effects including slower neuromotor skills, lower cognitive functioning, lower IQ scores, significantly shorter and smaller head circumferences by school age.

    Dexamethasone is given to children to improve lung function in the short-term and allows for early weaning from mechanical ventilation. However, as a result of new studies that show the the side effects associated with Dexamethasone treatment, the doctors who conducted the study have advised physicians to no longer use dexamethasone therapy.

    All of the infants in the study had severe respiratory distress syndrome that required mechanical ventilation shortly after birth. Out of 146 children, 72 were given .25 milligrams of dexamethasone per kilogram of body weight intravenously every 12 hours for one week. Then, the dose was tapered over the next three weeks.

    Results of the study show children in the dexamethasone group had significantly poorer motor skills, motor coordination and visual-motor integration than those who did not receive the therapy. Children in the dexamethasone group were also significantly shorter, had smaller head circumferences, and lower IQ scores than those in the control group.

    The frequency of clinical disabilities was higher among children in the dexamethasone group. In addition, children who received therapy had significantly lower scores on arithmetic, reading, writing and grammar tests than those in the control group."
    Last edit by lady_jezebel on May 13, '04
  5. by   ?burntout
    The best thing to do is talk to your ob/gyn or RE. Just explain how concerned you are for your baby's well-being; I'm sure he/she will understand with all you have been through to conceive.

    Best wishes and Congrats!
  6. by   NRSKarenRN
    steroid therapy (prednisone, prenisilone and dexamethazone)
    steroid therapy is a mainstay of most ivf programs. some programs use daily oral methyl prednisilone while others prescribe oral dexamethazone commencing about ten days prior to initiating ovarian stimulation with gonadotropins, and continuing until the diagnosis of pregnancy, whereupon, in the event of a negative test (beta hcg or ultrasound), the dosage is tapered over a period of seven to ten days, and then discontinued. pregnant patients continue treatment through the first trimester. steroids are believed to act by inhibiting the cellular immune response.
    sirm: immunologic testing and selective immunotherapy in women ...

    for many persons having difficulty conceiving, steriods are prescribed for
    persons with autoimmune disease (arthritis, lupus), sperm allergy, failed embryo implantation and thyroid/pituitary disease.

    i had tried for 8 years to become pregnant. twenty years ago when infertility tx just getting off the ground, i consulted an endocrinologist wo placed me on prednisone at bedtime to supress pittuitary hormone release increasing chance of egg foliccle release.

    was pregant within 3 1/2 months, so they discontinued prednisone. i miscarried at 13 1/2 weeks. after a year rest, tried again. this time prednisone was continued through first trimester, stopping at 16 weeks and had succesful pregnancy.

    you are experiencing side effects of the hormone. a discussion with the doctor is indicated as maybe dose could be decreased. thinking back i remember shortened sleep too. bloating and facial swelling will go away once steroid is tapered then stopped. then the bloating from pregnancy will take over!

    to see this young man now 18 graduating hs this year, is a miracle. we had all but given up. he needed physical therapy exercises from 6 months-13 months to get him up to developmental speed. was walking at age 13 months. played soccer from age 6-14, football in hs and is computer wiz.
    wishing you the best.
  7. by   shirley297
    wow thanks a lot for taking the time out to send me that info and your story which was really helpful and has put my mind at rest going to see my consultant in another 3 weeks time so will discuss with him then but thanks again x