The use of certain parenteral formulations of dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisolone and triamcinolone is considered by the drug manufacturers to be contraindicated in neonates, particularly premature infants and infants of low birth weight. Some formulations of these drugs contain benzyl alcohol which, when used in bacteriostatic saline intravascular flush and endotracheal tube lavage solutions, has been associated with fatalities and severe respiratory and metabolic complications in low-birth-weight premature infants. However, many experts feel that, in the absence of benzyl alcohol-free equivalents, the amount of the preservative present in these formulations should not necessarily preclude their use if they are clearly indicated. The American Academy of Pediatrics considers benzyl alcohol in low doses (such as when used as a preservative in some medications) to be safe for newborns. Continuous infusions of high dosages of medications containing benzyl alcohol may, however, cause toxicity and should be avoided if possible.
This schedule is designed to ensure adequate therapy during acute episodes, while minimizing the risk of overdosage in chronic cases.
In cerebral edema, Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate injection, USP is generally administered initially in a dosage of 10 mg intravenously followed by 4 mg every six hours intramuscularly until the symptoms of cerebral edema subside. Response is usually noted within 12 to 24 hours and dosage may be reduced after two to four days and gradually discontinued over a period of five to seven days. For palliative management of patients with recurrent or inoperable brain tumors, maintenance therapy with either Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate injection, USP or dexamethasone tablets in a dosage of 2 mg two or three times daily may be effective.
The adverse effects of corticosteroids in pediatric patients are similar to those in adults (see ADVERSE REACTIONS ). Like adults, pediatric patients should be carefully observed with frequent measurements of blood pressure, weight, height, intraocular pressure, and clinical evaluation for the presence of infection, psychosocial disturbances, thromboembolism , peptic ulcers, cataracts, and osteoporosis. Pediatric patients who are treated with corticosteroids by any route, including systemically administered corticosteroids, may experience a decrease in their growth velocity. This negative impact of corticosteroids on growth has been observed at low systemic doses and in the absence of laboratory evidence of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis suppression (., cosyntropin stimulation and basal cortisol plasma levels). Growth velocity may therefore be a more sensitive indicator of systemic corticosteroid exposure in pediatric patients than some commonly used tests of HPA axis function. The linear growth of pediatric patients treated with corticosteroids should be monitored, and the potential growth effects of prolonged treatment should be weighed against clinical benefits obtained and the availability of treatment alternatives. In order to minimize the potential growth effects of corticosteroids, pediatric patients should be titrated to the lowest effective dose .