Dexamethasone side effects

Morning Ladies,


Has anyone else been taking Dexamethasone for several weeks and had side effects? My Oncologist prescribed them to reduce the inflammation around my tumours as I was having a lot of pain. The pain has eased but I feel completely spaced out, my legs are so weak that I struggle to get upstairs and my face is so swollen I look like a hamster.


I can’t just stop taking them as I have been on them for too long so have to reduce them slowly, I am now on half the dose I was a few weeks ago but the side effects seem to be getting worse not better. Has anyone else experienced this? I’m getting concerned it may be something else and the steroids are masking it.


I don’t usually worry about things like that but can’t get it out of my head now. It’s only a few weeks since I was told I was Stage 4 as it has spread to my liver, lungs and sacrum. Now I’m worried it could be brain mets as I have Triple Negative and I know it can spread to brain mets I have never had a brain scan. I’m not due to see my Oncologist for two weeks but will contact him. 

I just wondered if anyone had any experience of this? 

Take care, Mandy x

Hi Mandy

I am on the same steroid as you. I googled how long it takes to get out of our system seemingly 4-6 weeks. One of the side effects can be water retention. Puffy face arms & legs. 

If you are worried about it I would ring oncologist secretary and she could ask oncologist about it. May be only 2 weeks before seeing oncologist but it is a long time  if you are worried. 

Take care



Hi Mandy

I was on Dexamethasone for about a month before surgery to my spine to reduce spinal cord swelling caused by spinal mets and then for another four weeks gradually reducing after surgery.  The side effects too about three weeks to kick in fully before I had the hamster look too.   My face and legs and stomach swelled up and it took a while for the swelling to go down.  The district nurse told me cheerily my legs were like tree trunks.  I felt really horrible -  I felt jittery and anxious and spaced out all at the same time and struggled walking up the stairs.  I felt wobbly and shaky too even just walking round the block.      On the positive side it almost completely resolved the pain I had in my back within a couple of days.  Once it was out of my system I felt back to normal again but it did take time.  I think feeling very anxious is a common side effect. I hope you start to feel better soon and your oncologist can reassure you xx

I have been on 2mg of Dec for a year now. For about 6 months I was fine, then the hamster face appeared and my leg and arm muscles seemed to waste away whilst my face neck and stomach got bigger!! I needed to take them to keep the brain swelling down. I finally got the Oncologist to agree I could slowly come off them. After this long the side effects of coming off it can be awful. I have no energy, every part of my bod aches and I sudden,ydont feel like eating as feel a bit queasy. Hopefully this will pass. I feel for you with the weak legs, I have fallen quite a lot as I forget they are weak and expect to do what I did before. What you are experiencing is normal, once swelling under control a steady reduction of amount will be allowed, hopefully, by your Oncologist. I am down to a third of a tablet every other day. Hope to stop altogether next week if I can persevere with the side effects.