The potential for dexamethasone and other glucocorticoids to prolong peripheral nerve blocks was first noted almost 20 years ago.
While the effect has been observed with several different blocks (upper & lower extremity, and even TAP blocks), the clinical significance varies and several questions still remain:
Is the effect exclusive to perineural dexamethasone? Several studies have observed similar effects for both IV and perineural dexamethasone (though less profound than other papers).
Is the effect safe? This is perhaps the most concerning, as there are suggestions that the effect may represent an enhancement of the well-known neurotoxicity of local anaesthetic agents.