Compare dexamethasone vs. Prednisolone

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

dexamethasone

prednisolone

Calms down your immune system. Decadron (dexamethasone) is a long-acting oral corticosteroid that is very effective in treating allergic reactions and immune conditions, however, if you're taking Decadron (dexamethasone) for a long time, there can be serious side effects.Treats eye redness and swelling. Pred Forte (Prednisolone) is strong medicine for eye redness and swelling without exposing the rest of your body to the steroid medicine.
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Decadron (dexamethasone)?
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Have you used Pred Forte (Prednisolone)?
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Side effects
dexamethasonePrednisolone

The dexamethasone FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about dexamethasone side effects »

The Prednisolone FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Prednisolone side effects »
How it works
dexamethasonePrednisolone
Decadron (dexamethasone) is a corticosteroid that is similar to what your body naturally makes. It reduces swelling and other immune responses that can cause you pain, discomfort, or harm.Pred Forte (Prednisolone) is a steroid that lowers your immune response to allergens and reduces eye redness and swelling.
Type of medication
dexamethasonePrednisolone
Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availablePrescription onlyLower-cost generic available
Available as
dexamethasonePrednisolone
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Eye drops
Used for
dexamethasonePrednisolone
  • Allergies
Risk factors for serious side effects
dexamethasonePrednisolone
  • Lowering dose or stopping too quickly especially after long-term treatment
  • Stress such as trauma, surgery or infection
  • Taking other immunosuppressants
  • Long-term treatment
  • Not vaccinated against viral diseases
Detailed Decadron (dexamethasone) risks & warnings »
  • Long-term use
  • History of glaucoma
Detailed Pred Forte (Prednisolone) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Price
dexamethasonePrednisolone
  • Can control immune responses that are causing you discomfort and works quickly to relieve symptoms like swelling, rash, asthma attacks, and pain.
No price related info.
Food
dexamethasonePrednisolone
  • Take Decadron (dexamethasone) in the morning with food to minimize stomach upset. If taking an evening dose, take 2-3 hours before bedtime to help you sleep better at night.
No food related info.
Kidneys and liver
dexamethasonePrednisolone
  • Decadron (dexamethasone) can cause high blood pressure, increased salt retention and increased processing of electrolytes by your kidneys. If you have heart failure, high blood pressure, or kidney damage, talk to your doctor.
No kidneys and liver related info.
Pain
dexamethasonePrednisolone
  • Taking Decadron (dexamethasone) increases the risk of injury to the lining of your stomach and intestine including irritation and tears. You should avoid alcohol/alcoholic beverages because it can worsen stomach irritation. Tell your doctor and get medical care right away if you have stomach pain or bloody/dark stools when you go to the bathroom.
  • Decadron (dexamethasone) can increase your chance of infection. Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, chills, flu-like signs, cough, pain with passing urine, or a wound that will not heal.
  • Let your doctor know if you have eye pain, pressure, infections, or changes in eye sight.
Upsides and benefits
dexamethasonePrednisolone
  • Effective in treating many conditions.
  • Can improve energy and appetite.
  • Can control immune responses that are causing you discomfort and works quickly to relieve symptoms like swelling, rash, asthma attacks, and pain.
  • Has long-term benefit in calming down the immune system and keeping it from causing your body harm, such as in autoimmune conditions.
  • Available in generic form.
  • Decreases swelling and redness in your eyes.
  • Doesn't cause the same types of side effects that oral forms of steroids do.
Downsides and risks
dexamethasonePrednisolone
  • Many side effects, particularly with long term use.
  • Side effects include mood changes, trouble sleeping and increase in blood pressure and blood sugar at higher doses.
  • Long-term use can cause problems with skin, bone, eye health and put you at a higher risk for infections.
  • If you've been using corticosteroids for more than 2 weeks, you will need to work with a doctor to get off the medicine slowly.
  • Limited studies conducted with use of steroids during pregnancy or breastfeeding - potential harm to unborn baby.
  • Available only as a prescription medication.
  • You need good hand-eye coordination to get the eye drops into your eyes.
  • Can cause or worsen certain eye conditions.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
dexamethasonePrednisolone
  • The dose and how long you need to take the medicine for depends on your specific condition and response.
  • Take Decadron (dexamethasone) in the morning with food to minimize stomach upset. If taking an evening dose, take 2-3 hours before bedtime to help you sleep better at night.
  • Decadron (dexamethasone) can cause an increase in appetite and water retention, as well as changes in mood.
  • Decadron (dexamethasone) can increase blood pressure and blood sugar with higher doses. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, it is important that you check your blood pressure and blood sugar regularly while taking this medicine.
  • If you need to take Decadron (dexamethasone) for longer than 2 weeks, you may need to gradually stop taking this medication. Take it exactly as your doctor prescribed and do not stop suddenly.
  • Decadron (dexamethasone) can increase your chance of infection. Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, chills, flu-like signs, cough, pain with passing urine, or a wound that will not heal.
  • Shake the eye drops well before using.
  • Press your finger gently on the inner corner of your eye after the drops are in to keep them there.
  • Wait 1 minute between each drop if you're giving yourself more than 1 drop.
  • If you have other eye drops, wait 5 minutes in between different sets of eye drops.
  • If your symptoms don't get better after 2 days, you may need to try a different medicine.
  • Let your doctor know if you have eye pain, pressure, infections, or changes in eye sight.
Learn more
More about dexamethasoneSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Decadron (dexamethasone)?
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More about PrednisoloneSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Pred Forte (Prednisolone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it