Steroid therapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Steroids are drugs that are often given with chemotherapy to help treat lymphoma. They may also help you feel better and feel less sick during chemotherapy. The steroids most commonly used to treat lymphoma are called prednisolone and dexamethasone.

Side effects of steroids

Your treatment for lymphoma may involve taking steroids for a few days at a time during every cycle of chemotherapy.

Possible side effects include:

Tell your doctor if you have any side effects that are causing you trouble. 

If you have indigestion, it can help to take your steroids with food. Your doctor may also prescribe drugs to prevent indigestion. Tell your doctor if you have stomach pains while taking steroids.

Taking your steroids in the morning may help reduce sleeping problems.

Sometimes, steroids may cause a temporary increase in your blood sugar level. You may have regular blood or urine tests to check this. During treatment, tell your doctor if you get very thirsty or if you are passing more urine than usual. If you have diabetes, tell your doctor before you start taking steroids.

Side effects usually get better when you finish taking steroids. But some people feel tired, have aches and pains, or have low moods when they stop taking them. This usually gets better within 2 to 3 days as your body adjusts to the change in steroid levels.

Back to Supportive and other treatments

Blood transfusions

Some cancers or cancer treatments can cause anaemia, which is a low number of red blood cells. Blood transfusions are used to treat anaemia.


Having chemotherapy can make you more prone to infections. G-CSF helps you make more white blood cells to reduce that risk.

Platelet transfusions

Platelets are cells that help to stop bleeding. Some cancers or cancer treatments can lead to low platelets and you may need a platelet transfusion.