Dexamethasone Appears to Reduce Cancer-Related Fatigue

According to an article recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, dexamethasone appears to reduce fatigue related to cancer.

Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is a common side effect of both cancer and treatment for cancer. In fact, among patients with advanced cancer, CRF is the most common symptom they experience. CRF can significantly reduce quality of life, as it can become so severe that everyday activities cannot be fulfilled by patients.

Researchers continue to explore novel options to reduce fatigue among this group of patients so they are able to perform everyday activities.

Researchers from the MD Anderson Cancer Center recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of dexamethasone, a steroid, in CRF. The trial included 84 patients with advanced cancer who were suffering from CRF. Patients were treated with either dexamethasone or placebo (inactive substitute).

CRF was significantly improved at day 15 among patients who received dexamethasone compared to those who received placebo.
Overall quality of life, as reported by patients, was also significantly improved among those treated with dexamethasone compared to those who received placebo.
The frequency of adverse effects was not different between the two groups of patients.
Overall symptom distress and psychological distress were not different between the two groups of patients.
The researchers concluded that “Dexamethasone is more effective than placebo in improving CRF and quality of life in patients with advanced cancer.”

Reference: Yennurajalingam S, Frisbee-Hume S, Palmer J, et al. Reduction of cancer-related fatigue with dexamethasone: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in patients with advanced cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2013; 31(25):3076-3082.