Steroids and CLL

The steroids most commonly used to treat CLL include:

  • dexamethasone
  • methylprednisolone
  • prednisolone.

You may be given treatment with steroids if your red blood cell count falls very quickly, because of a condition called autoimmune haemolytic anaemia or AIHA.

You may also have steroids with chemotherapy treatment, for example as part of CHOP chemotherapy. As well as treating CLL, steroids help reduce possible sickness from the chemotherapy.

Occasionally, people will be given high-dose steroid treatment, called high-dose methylprednisolone (HDMP). The steroids can be given as tablets or into a vein as a drip. You may be prescribed antibiotics, anti-viral drugs or anti-fungal drugs to help prevent infection during your treatment.

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Decisions about treatment

Your doctors may tell you there are different options for your treatment. Having the right information will help you make the right decision for you.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to treat leukaemia. It is most commonly given as an injection into a vein or as tablets or capsules.

Radiotherapy for CLL

Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays, usually x-rays to treat leukaemia cells. It is not often used to treat CLL.

Targeted therapies

Targeted therapies are a type of cancer treatment. They are drugs or other substances that interfere with the way cells grow and divide.

Clinical trials

Many people are offered a trial as part of treatment. Find out more to help you decide if a trial is right for you.

Life after cancer treatment

You might be thinking about how to get back to normal following treatment. Find advice, information and support about coping with and after treatment for leukaemia.