Author(s): Heimdal K, Hirschberg H, Sletteb H, Watne K, Nome O
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Abstract Twenty-eight consecutive patients were given high-dose dexamethasone (96 mg i.v. loading dose, decreasing doses to zero in 14 days) and radiotherapy for epidural spinal cord compression due to malignant disease. There were eight events classified as side effects of the dexamethasone treatment. Four of these were considered as serious (one fatal ulcer with haemorrhage, one rectal bleeding and one gastrointestinal perforation from undetermined origins, and one perforation of the sigmoid colon) giving a total rate of serious side effects of 14.3 percent. Due to the high incidence of serious side effects of the high dexamethasone dose, the regimen was abandoned in favor of a standard dexamethasone dose of 16 mg daily reduced to zero in 14 days. There were three events classified as side effects, but none were considered as serious in 38 consecutive patients receiving this dose. The differences both in total number of side effects and number of serious side effects are statistically significant. There was no significant difference in the number of ambulant patients in the group that received the high dexamethasone dose. We conclude that the high dexamethasone dose in our experience gives an unacceptably high incidence of serious side effects and we have therefore abandoned the regimen in favour of a more standard dexamethasone dose.
This article was published in J Neurooncol
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation