Prednisone: Various Uses For Cancer Patients

Prednisone is a glucocorticosteroid (a steroid) used in the treatment of many types of cancers. It functions as an anti-inflammatory medicine that relieves swelling on various parts of the body. It also helps with nausea experienced by chemo patients. It can prevent allergic reactions.

The terms "Hodgkin's lymphoma" and "Hodgkin lymphoma" are used interchangeably on this site

It is used in conjunction with the treatment of many types of cancers, including both Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is almost always given in combination with chemotherapy agents, and plays a part in these regimens:

  • BEACOPP (bleomycin, etoposide, adriamycin, cytoxan, oncovin, prednisone, procarbazine)
  • CHOP (cytoxan, adriamycin, oncovin, prednisone)
  • The CHOP regimen is also being studied in combination with the Zevalin® regimen for certain types of B-cell lymphomas.
  • MOPP (mustargen, oncovin, procarbazine, prednisone)
  • ChIVPP/EVA (chlorambucil, oncovin, procarbazine, prenisone, etoposide, vinblastine, adriamycin)
  • COPP (cytoxan, oncovin, procarbazine, prednisone)
  • Stanford-V (adriamycin, mustargen, bleomycin, vinblastine, oncovin, etoposide, prednisone)

Drug Administration

Prednisone is taken as a pill once a day either at meals or after eating.

Side Effects

Common side effects include weight gain, increased appetite, insomnia (difficulty sleeping), swelling due to water retention, slow healing, increased blood sugar, nausea, and heartburn.

Less common side effects include headaches, mood swings, dizziness, and bone thinning. Bone thinning can lead to osteonecrosis, or the depletion of bone at the joints, especially in the hips. For patients on prednisone for long periods of time, bone scans should be conducted regularly.

Prednisone makes you more susceptible to illness and can mask infections; stay away from people who are sick.

For more information on Hodgkin's Lymphoma, please see the following pages:

For more information on Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, please see the following pages:

Photo: Pexels

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