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Generic Name:

Dexamethasone, Ear drop

All Brands

SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for Dexamethasone

Ear drop
1

Dexamethasone is available in these forms: oral tablet, oral liquid, eye drop, and ear drop.

2

Dexamethasone ear drops can be used to treat ear inflammation.

3

Most people experience minimal side effects when taking this drug ear inflammation.

4

To take this medication, you can either drop the solution directly into your ear or place a gauze wick soaked with the solution into your ear canal.

5

Some forms of this drug contain sulfites. If you’re allergic to sulfites, make sure your version of this drug doesn’t include this ingredient.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Infection warning

Dexamethasone drops can cover up or worsen infections of the ear. Don’t use the drops if you have fungal infections of the ear.

Allergy warning

Some dexamethasone products contain sulfites as a preservative (such as sodium bisulfate). People with allergies to sulfites shouldn’t use dexamethasone drops that contain sulfites.

What is dexamethasone?

Dexamethasone is a prescription medication. It’s available in these forms: oral tablet, oral liquid, eye drop, and ear drop.

It’s also available in a generic version. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the generic will work for you.

Why it's used

Dexamethasone ear drops are used to treat ear inflammation.

How it works

Dexamethasone is a steroid that decreases your body's response to inflammation and reduces the activity of your immune system.

More Details

How It Works

Dexamethasone is a steroid that decreases your body's response to inflammation and reduces the activity of your immune system.

This can reduce swelling and pain.

In certain conditions, inflammation can result in an overactive immune system and can cause damage to the body's tissues. Steroids such as dexamethasone can help block the body's response to inflammation.

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Dexamethasone Side Effects

Ear drop

Most people tolerate dexamethasone drops well and don’t usually experience side effects.

Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Dexamethasone does not cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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Dexamethasone May Interact with Other Medications

Ear drop

Dexamethasone can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Dexamethasone Warnings
ear infections
People with ear infections

Dexamethasone drops can cover up or worsen infections of the ear. Don’t use the drops if you have fungal infections of the ear.

perforated eardrum
People with perforated eardrum

Don’t use this drug if you have a perforated eardrum. It can delay healing of the perforation.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

Dexamethasone is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans.

Category C drugs can still be used if their benefits outweigh the risks.

breastfeeding
Women who are nursing

It’s not known how much of this drug, if any, enters the breast milk. Because of the risk of side effects, talk to your healthcare provider about using dexamethasone while breastfeeding.

telephone
When to call the doctor

Contact your doctor if you continue to experience signs and symptoms of infection after treatment. Symptoms include:

  • ear pain and discomfort
  • drainage
  • loss of hearing
allergies
Allergies

Sulfites: Some dexamethasone products contain sulfites as a preservative (such as sodium bisulfate).  Don’t use dexamethasone drops that contain sulfites if you have this allergy.

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How to Take Dexamethasone (Dosage)

Ear drop

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Inflammation
Form: Ear Drop
Strengths: 0.1% solution
Adult Dosage (ages 18 years and older)

A suggested initial dose is three or four drops taken two or three times a day.

Child Dosage (ages 0-17 years)

A safe and effective dose hasn’t been established.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

If you miss a dose, wait and take the next dose as planned. Don’t double your dose.

How to Tell If the Drug Is Working

You may be able to tell the drug is working if it reduces your signs and symptoms of inflammation, including:

  • ear pain and discomfort
  • drainage
  • loss of hearing
Important Considerations for Taking Dexamethasone
timing
Take this drug at the right times for best effects
storage
Store at 59–86°F (15–30°C)
self-management
Self-Management
See Details

Self-Management

Clean the ear canal thoroughly and sponge dry. Instill the solution directly into the ear canal. Decrease the dosage as the inflammation improves to a gradual stop in treatment.

Alternatively, you can pack your ear canal with a gauze wick saturated with the solution. Keep the wick moist with the dexamethasone solution and remove it from your ear after 12 to 24 hours. Treatment may be repeated as often as necessary according to your doctor's instructions.

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How Much Does Dexamethasone Cost?

Ear drop

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Lowest price for Dexamethasone

Kroger Pharmacy $9.85
Walmart $12.85
Sams Club $12.85
These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for Dexamethasone on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for Dexamethasone on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with Stacey Boudreaux, PharmD

Medically reviewed by Susan J. Bliss, RPh, MBA and Alan Carter, PharmD on January 5, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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