Corticosteroid Drugs For Myeloma

Corticosteroid drugs have been used for many years to treat multiple myeloma.
With the development of many new drug treatments in recent years, these new drugs are often used in combination with corticosteroid drugs for myeloma.

What are Corticosteroid Drugs?

Corticosteroids are substances produced by your adrenal glands. Corticosteroids are necessary to help regulate your body’s immune responses, inflammation, metabolism and a number of other important functions.

The effects of corticosteroids on immune function make them effective for fighting cancer. Synthetic corticosteroids appear to cause programmed cell death in myeloma cells, a process known as “apoptosis.” They also prevent myeloma cells from producing cytokines–small proteins cancer cells use to communicate with one another. Common corticosteroid drugs used in multiple myeloma treatment include dexamethasone, prednisone, prednisolone and methylprednisolone.

By reducing inflammation around tumors, corticosteroid drugs also help to alleviate the pain caused when tumors exert pressure on nerve endings. Your doctor may prescribe corticosteroid drugs to help relieve sickness associated with chemotherapy, increase your appetite during treatment, and regulate your body’s immune response to stem cell treatment.

What to Expect When Taking Corticosteroid Drugs for Myeloma

Corticosteroid drugs can be taken as tablets or as an injection. Most people only take them for a few days or weeks. If you take them for longer, you may have to carry a steroid card or wear a medical alert bracelet to inform medical professionals that you are taking steroids. Corticosteroid drugs are often prescribed in combination with other drugs, such as bortezomib (Velcade