Compare dexamethasone vs. Prednisone

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

Decadron
(Dexamethasone)

Deltasone
(Prednisone)

Lowers inflammation and suppresses your immune system. Decadron (Dexamethasone) is identical to an essential hormone that humans produce and has been proven to work safely.Calms down your immune system. Deltasone (Prednisone) is a common oral corticosteroid that's great for controlling the unwanted symptoms from your immune responses and will make you feel better. There are lots of side effects but most of are tolerable or can be managed.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Deltasone (Prednisone)
59%
27% vs. Decadron (Dexamethasone)
44%
42% vs. Decadron (Dexamethasone)
20%
20% vs. Decadron (Dexamethasone)
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 short-acting corticosteroid. It lowers inflammation by preventing your capillaries (small blood vessels) from leaking out excess fluid and chemicals that cause swelling.Deltasone (Prednisone) is a corticosteroid that's similar to what your body naturally makes. It reduces swelling and other immune responses that can cause you pain, discomfort, or harm.
Type of medication
dexamethasonePrednisone
Glucocorticoid
Synthetic
Prescription only
Anti-inflammatory, Immunosuppressant
Corticosteroid
Prescription only
Available as
dexamethasonePrednisone
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
dexamethasonePrednisone
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
  • Long-term treatment
  • Not vaccinated against viral diseases
  • Contact with people who have viral illness
  • History of bacterial or viral conditions
  • Duration of treatment
  • History of psychiatric conditions
  • Dose of Decadron (Dexamethasone)
  • Duration of treatment
  • Women of childbearing age
Detailed Decadron (Dexamethasone) risks & warnings »
  • Lowering dose or stopping too quickly especially after long-term treatment
  • Stress such as trauma, surgery or infection
  • Long-term treatment
  • Not vaccinated against viral diseases
  • Contact with people who have viral illness
  • History of bacterial or viral conditions
  • Duration of treatment
    • History of psychiatric conditions
    • Dose of Deltasone (Prednisone)
    • Duration of treatment
    • Women of childbearing age
    • History of stomach bleeding
    • Active or history of stomach or duodenal ulcers
    • Ulcerative colitis
    • Taking Deltasone (Prednisone) with other medicine that can cause stomach problems
    Detailed Deltasone (Prednisone) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    dexamethasonePrednisone
    CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    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.

    See the FDA package insert
    DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    See the FDA package insert
    Alcohol
    No specific alcohol-related info.
    • Taking Deltasone (Prednisone) increases the risk of injury to the lining of your stomach and intestine including irritation, tears/holes and ulcers. You should avoid alcohol/alcoholic beverages because it can worsen stomach irritation. Tell your doctor or get medical care right away if you have stomach pain, notice blood or dark colored stools when you go to the bathroom.
    Food
    No specific food-related info.
    • Take with food to decrease stomach upset.
    Kidneys and liver
    No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
    Sex
    No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
    Sleep
    • Like most corticosteroid medicines, Decadron (Dexamethasone) may cause changes in your mood or behavior. Tell your doctor right away if you become depressed, have mood swings, trouble sleeping, irritability or anxiety, hyperactivity, delusions or hallucinations while taking this medicine. If you need to make any changes or slowly taper your dose, talk to your doctor first.
    • Short-term use can cause mood changes, trouble sleeping and increase in blood pressure, blood sugar, and possible water retention.
    • Can cause trouble sleeping. Take in the morning or 2-3 hours before bed if more than one dose is needed.
    • Like most corticosteroid medicines, Deltasone (Prednisone) may cause changes in your mood or behavior. Tell your doctor right away if you become depressed, have mood swings, trouble sleeping, irritability or anxiety, hyperactivity, delusions or hallucinations while taking this medicine. If you need to make any changes or slowly taper your dose, talk to your doctor first.
    Weight
    • Some people gain weight while taking Decadron (Dexamethasone) or can experience other side effects like mood changes.
    No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    dexamethasonePrednisone
    • Treats a large variety of inflammatory disorders including asthma, dermatitis, drug reactions, rashes, and endocrine disorders.
    • Can help prevent nausea, especially when it's caused by chemotherapy.
    • You can get it orally or as an injection.
    • Steroid magic, can help you feel better, have more energy and get more appetite.
    • Useful for many conditions.
    • Short-term use in controlling immune responses that are causing you discomfort, and works quickly to relieve symptoms like swelling, rash, asthma attacks, gout attacks.
    • Long-term use in suppressing the immune system from causing your body harm, like many autoimmune related conditions.
    Downsides and risks
    dexamethasonePrednisone
    • Can't be used on its own to treat low cortisol levels.
    • Since it suppresses your immune system, you're more likely to get infections.
    • You can't take Decadron (Dexamethasone) if you have a systemic fungal infection.
    • Shouldn't be used if you have a stomach ulcer.
    • Can decrease bone formation and lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis.
    • Lots of side effects, especially with long term use.
    • Short-term use can cause mood changes, trouble sleeping and increase in blood pressure, blood sugar, and possible water retention.
    • Long-term use can cause problems with skin, bone, eye health and put you at a higher risk for infections.
    • People with certain conditions will have to pay extra attention to their symptoms or may have to adjust the dose of other medicines when taking Prednisone.
    • When using corticosteroids for more than 1 week, you will need to work with a doctor to get off the medicine slowly.
    • Only available as an oral medicine so the rest of your body will be exposed to the medicine.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    dexamethasonePrednisone
    • The lowest possible dose of corticosteroids should be used to control your symptoms.
    • When reducing or stopping the dose, do it very slowly and follow your doctor's instructions exactly to prevent major health emergencies.
    • If you used Decadron (Dexamethasone) for a long time, you could get withdrawal symptoms like muscle pain, joint pain, and malaise.
    • Some people gain weight while taking Decadron (Dexamethasone) or can experience other side effects like mood changes.
    • Don't get live or live/attenuated vaccines while on this. Killed or inactivated vaccines are fine.
    • The dose and duration on how long you need the medicine depends on your condition and response.
    • Take it exactly as your doctor prescribed.
    • Take with food to decrease stomach upset.
    • Can cause trouble sleeping. Take in the morning or 2-3 hours before bed if more than one dose is needed.
    • Can cause changes in mood, blood pressure, blood sugar, and water retention.
    • You should check your blood pressure and blood sugar when taking this medicine if you already have high blood pressure or diabetes.
    • A taper is is often needed to stop the medicine, especially if you've been on it for more than 1 week.
    Learn more
    More about dexamethasoneSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about PrednisoneSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert