Corticosteroids (Glucocorticoids) for Cancer
What To Think About
During treatment with corticosteroids, do not take any other prescription or nonprescription medicines, including herbal products, without first talking to your doctor. Many other drugs can interact with corticosteroids, resulting in side effects or changes in how well the drugs work.
Do not stop taking corticosteroids suddenly. Withdrawal effects can occur. So it is very important to take the prescribed dose at the times recommended by your doctor. You will be given instructions on how to reduce (taper) your dose gradually at the end of your treatment. Have your doctor write these instructions out for you. If you have any questions about how to taper your dose, call your doctor. Tapering is usually only needed if you use corticosteroids for a long time. It may not be needed if you use the steroids only for short periods.
Dexamethasone, if given too rapidly by IV, may cause temporary itching or burning in the vaginal or rectal area. This goes away after a few minutes.
To minimize side effects of oral corticosteroids, take your pills with a full glass of liquid and a small snack.
Corticosteroids should be used during pregnancy only if the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the fetus. If you are or may be pregnant, talk to your doctor before using corticosteroids. This drug can pass through your body into breast milk and should not be used while you are breast-feeding.
Avoid sources of infection. Wash your hands frequently, and keep them away from your mouth and eyes. Your Reference immune system Opens New Window may be weakened while you are taking corticosteroids.
Steroids used to treat cancer and cancer pain are not the same as steroids used by body builders (anabolic steroids).
Do not use alcohol or street drugs while you are taking corticosteroids. Tell your doctor if you need more pain relief.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: October 28, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Michael Seth Rabin, MD - Medical Oncology