Definition - What does Dexamethasone mean?

Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid medication that enhances fertility when taken with ovulation stimulation drugs. The mechanism by which it does this is not fully understood, however it may decrease androgens (male hormones) produced by the adrenal gland. This allows the ovaries to be more receptive to fertility treatment aiding in ovulation.

The addition of dexamethasone to fertility regimens may be beneficial in patients who have ovulation treatment failures with clomiphene or letrozole alone. Dexamethasone is also an option for patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who have not conceived with clomiphene alone.

Dexamethasone may also be referred to as Decadron.

FertilitySmarts explains Dexamethasone

When used for infertility, dexamethasone is given daily for a limited number of days. The optimal dosing strategy has not been determined. Clinical studies show fertility improvement when dexamethasone is dosed as 0.5 mg daily (on days five to nine of the fertility cycle) as well as 2mg daily (on days three to twelve or five to fourteen). Some physicians may develop their own dosing strategies.

It is best to take this medication in the morning with food in order to avoid gastrointestinal upset. Common short-term side effects may include:

  • Increased appetite
  • Fluid retention
  • Insomnia
  • Mood changes
  • Anxiety
  • Limb pain

Patients with a history of hypertension or diabetes should be warned of the potential worsening of these conditions.

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