Steroids for Hodgkin lymphoma
Steroids are made naturally in the body. They can also be produced artificially and used as a drug to reduce inflammation (redness, swelling and/or pain). The steroids usually used for Hodgkin lymphoma are prednisone or prednisolone. These are known as corticosteroids.
You may be given steroids to increase the effect of the chemotherapy, help destroy the lymphoma, and treat any nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Steroids may also be used with targeted therapy or immunotherapy. Steroids are usually taken as tablets, but can also be given into a vein (intravenously).
Side effects of steroids
When taken for a short period of time, steroids may cause:
- an increased appetite and weight gain
- feelings of restlessness
- trouble sleeping (insomnia)
- changes in mood.
If you need to take steroids for several months, this may cause a build-up of fluid in the body and face (fluid retention), high blood pressure, and an increase in glucose levels, which may lead to diabetes in some people. You may also be more likely to get infections and, over time, your skin, muscles and bones may weaken.
Podcast: Making Treatment Decisions
Prof Mark Hertzberg AM, Head, Department of Haematology, Prince of Wales Hospital; Dr Puja Bhattacharyya, Haematology Staff Specialist, Western Sydney Local Health District – Blacktown Hospital; A/Prof Susan Carroll, Senior Staff Specialist, Radiation Oncology, Royal North Shore Hospital and University of Sydney; Gerry Flanagan, Consumer; Alisha Ganesh, Haematology Clinical Nurse Consultant, Concord Repatriation General Hospital; Kelly King, Cancer Council Liaison, Central Coast Cancer Centre; Ilana Krug, Social Worker – Haematology and Oncology, Gosford Hospital; Amy McGee, Consumer.
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