Corticosteroids provide a range of effects including mood elevation,
anti-inflammatory activity, antiemetic activity, and appetite stimulation.
These effects may be beneficial in the management of cachexia and anorexia in
terminal illness (Bruera, Roca, Cedaro et al., 1985). They also reduce cerebral
and spinal cord edema and are essential in the emergency management of elevated
intracranial pressure and epidural spinal cord compression. Steroids are part
of the standard therapy for tumor-induced spinal cord compression (Byrne,
1992), and they are effective in reducing pain due to perineural edema and
pressure on nerves. Dexamethasone (16 to 24 mg/day) or prednisone (60 to 100
mg/day) may be added to opioids for the management of pain in bronchial or
lumbosacral plexopathy. Undesirable effects such as myopathy, hyperglycemia,
weight gain, and dysphoria may occur during prolonged steroid therapy.
Bisphosphonates and Calcitonin