Naturally occurring glucocorticoids (hydrocortisone and cortisone ), which also have salt-retaining properties, are used as replacement therapy in adrenocortical deficiency states. Their synthetic analogs, such as betamethasone, are primarily used for their anti-inflammatory effects in disorders of many organ systems. A derivative of prednisolone, betamethasone has a 16β-methyl group that enhances the anti-inflammatory action of the molecule and reduces the sodium- and water-retaining properties of the fluorine atom bound at carbon 9.
In cerebral edema , Dexamethasone sodium phosphate injection 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 or Dexamethasone tablets in a dosage of 2 mg two or three times daily may be effective.
There is no evidence of safe and effective use of topical corticosteroids in pregnant mothers. Therefore, they should be used only if clearly needed. Long term use and large applications of topical corticosteroids may cause birth defects in the unborn. It is not known whether topical corticosteroids enter breast milk. Therefore, caution must be exercised before using it in nursing mothers. Topical corticosteroids should not be applied to the breasts of nursing mothers unless the mothers instructed to do so by the physician.