Compare dexamethasone vs. prednisone

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

Decadron
(dexamethasone)

Deltasone
(prednisone)

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.Calms down your immune system. Deltasone (prednisone) is effective for controlling allergic reactions and conditions involving the immune system. It can quickly make you feel better, but Deltasone (prednisone) can cause serious complications and side effects if taken for a long time.
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Decadron (dexamethasone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for prednisone
59%
+31% better vs. dexamethasone
45%
+45% better vs. dexamethasone
20%
+20% better vs. dexamethasone
540 reviews
Have you used Deltasone (prednisone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
dexamethasoneprednisone

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

More about dexamethasone side effects »

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

More about prednisone side effects »
How it works
dexamethasoneprednisone
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.Deltasone (prednisone) is a corticosteroid similar to a hormone your body naturally makes in response to stress. It helps reduce swelling and blocks the actions of your immune system that normally would cause pain, discomfort, or harm.
Type of medication
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Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
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  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Delayed release pill
  • Liquid
Used for
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  • Allergies
Risk factors for serious side effects
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  • 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 »
  • Taking high doses of Deltasone (prednisone) for a long period of time
  • Young children
  • Stress such as trauma, injury, or infection
  • Taking other medicines that weaken the immune system
  • Taking Deltasone (prednisone) for a long time
Detailed Deltasone (prednisone) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy
Price
dexamethasoneprednisone
  • 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
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  • 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.
  • Take Deltasone (prednisone) in the morning with food to lower your chances of getting stomach upset and having trouble sleeping. For an evening dose, it is best to take the medicine at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
Kidneys and liver
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  • 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.
  • Deltasone (prednisone) can cause high blood pressure, unexplained weight gain, and other changes in the way your kidneys work. If you have a history of heart failure, high blood pressure, or kidney problems, talk to your doctor first before using this medicine.
Pain
dexamethasoneprednisone
  • 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.
No pain related info.
Upsides and benefits
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  • 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.
  • Deltasone (prednisone) effectively treats a variety of conditions involving the immune system.
  • Can help improve energy and stimulate your appetite.
  • Works quickly to provide relief for swelling, rash, asthma attacks, and pain.
  • Good long-term treatment option for autoimmune disorders.
  • Deltasone (prednisone) is available in a generic form.
Downsides and risks
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  • 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.
  • Deltasone (prednisone) can cause unwanted side effects such as mood changes, trouble sleeping, and increase in blood pressure as well as blood sugar at higher doses.
  • Long-term use can cause problems to your skin, bones, eyes, and place you at a higher risk for infections.
  • If Deltasone (prednisone) is used for more than 2 weeks, you will need to work with a doctor to taper off the medicine by gradually decreasing the dose.
  • Deltasone (prednisone) can harm an unborn baby, so it's not a good option for pregnant women.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
dexamethasoneprednisone
  • 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.
  • Take Deltasone (prednisone) in the morning with food to lower your chances of getting stomach upset and having trouble sleeping. For an evening dose, it is best to take the medicine at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Deltasone (prednisone) can increase your appetite, make your body retain more water, and cause changes to your mood.
  • Deltasone (prednisone) can increase your blood pressure and blood sugar at 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 Deltasone (prednisone) for longer than 2 weeks, you may need to gradually stop taking this medicine. Take it exactly as your doctor told you and do not stop suddenly.
  • Deltasone (prednisone) can increase your chances of getting an infection. Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, chills, flu-like symptoms, cough, pain with passing urine, or a wound that will not heal.
Learn more
More about dexamethasoneSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Decadron (dexamethasone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about prednisoneSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Deltasone (prednisone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it