The use of corticosteroids in reducing cancer-related fatigue: Assessing the evidence for clinical practice

Sarah Begley, Kevin Rose, Margaret O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Fatigue is a significant issue for people with advanced cancer, impacting on quality of life. Strategies to address fatigue encompass non-pharmacological and pharmacological approaches and thus require a multidisciplinary approach to manage the physical and psychological impacts on the individual. A widely used strategy to treat fatigue in palliative care is the use of corticosteroids but, despite being frequently prescribed, evidence of their effectiveness is ambiguous. This paper used a systematic approach to explore literature to determine evidence about whether the use of corticosteroids improves levels of cancer-related fatigue in people with advanced cancer. Some 12 relevant papers were found, of which all but 4 were excluded because of age, or because the population group was receiving active treatment. All studies reported improvements in patient-reported fatigue as a result of taking corticosteroids, although the quality of results varied and only a few were deemed to have statistically significant results. While there is some evidence that corticosteroids can improve cancer-related fatigue, more rigorous research is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-9
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Palliative Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer-related fatigue
  • Corticosteroids
  • Palliative care

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