Background: Anticancer treatment exposes patients to negative consequences such as increased toxicity and decreased quality of life, and there are clear guidelines recommending limiting use of aggressive anticancer treatments for patients near end of life. The aim of this study is to investigate the association between anticancer treatment given during the last 30 days of life and adverse events contributing to death and elucidate how adverse events can be used as a measure of quality and safety in end-of-life cancer care.
Methods: Retrospective cohort study of 247 deceased hospitalised cancer patients at three hospitals in Norway in 2012 and 2013. The Global Trigger Tool method were used to identify adverse events. We used Poisson regression and binary logistic regression to compare adverse events and association with use of anticancer treatment given during the last 30 days of life.
Results: 30% of deceased hospitalised cancer patients received some kind of anticancer treatment during the last 30 days of life, mainly systemic anticancer treatment. These patients had 62% more adverse events compared to patients not being treated last 30 days, 39 vs. 24 adverse events per 1000 patient days (p < 0.001, OR 1.62 (1.23–2.15). They also had twice the odds of an adverse event contributing to death compared to patients without such treatment, 33 vs. 18% (p = 0.045, OR 1.85 (1.01–3.36)). Receiving follow up by specialist palliative care reduced the rate of AEs per 1000 patient days in both groups by 29% (p = 0.02, IRR 0.71, CI 95% 0.53–0.96).
Conclusions: Anticancer treatment given during the last 30 days of life is associated with a significantly increased rate of adverse events and related mortality. Patients receiving specialist palliative care had significantly fewer adverse events, supporting recommendations of early integration of palliative care in a patient safety perspective.
Introduction : En France, la méthadone est autorisée uniquement comme traitement de substitution. Elle peut être utilisée pour les douleurs liées au cancer. Le but de cette étude est d’évaluer l’efficacité et les effets secondaires de la méthadone dans cette indication.
Méthode : Il s’agit d’une étude rétrospective de janvier 2010 à février 2011, incluant tous les patients recevant de la méthadone pour la première fois. Le soulagement était considéré comme obtenu si l’intensité de la douleur était inférieure ou égale à 3/10 sur l’échelle d’évaluation numérique (EN) ou inférieure ou égale à 30/100 sur une échelle visuelle analogique (Eva), à j7 et j28. Les effets secondaires et leur persistance ont été explorés pendant l’instauration, à j7 et j28.
Résultats : Vingt-deux patients ont été inclus. Vingt patients ont été évalués au 7e jour, dix-huit patients à 28e. À j7, seize patients (80 %) étaient soulagés et onze (61 %) au 28e jour. Peu de patients ont présenté des effets indésirables : 8 patients (40 %) à j7 et 3 (16,7 %) à j28.
Conclusion : La méthadone est un traitement utile contre la douleur cancéreuse, en particulier pour la douleur cancéreuse rebelle et complexe.
Background: Treatment of delirium often includes haloperidol. Second-generation antipsychotics like olanzapine have emerged as an alternative with possibly fewer side effects. The aim of this multicenter, phase III, randomized clinical trial was to compare the efficacy and tolerability of olanzapine with haloperidol for the treatment of delirium in hospitalized patients with advanced cancer.
Materials and Methods: Eligible adult patients (=18 years) with advanced cancer and delirium (Delirium Rating Scale-Revised-98 [DRS-R-98] total score =17.75) were randomized 1:1 to receive either haloperidol or olanzapine (age-adjusted, titratable doses). Primary endpoint was delirium response rate (DRR), defined as number of patients with DRS-R-98 severity score <15.25 and =4.5 points reduction. Secondary endpoints included time to response (TTR), tolerability, and delirium-related distress.
Results: Between January 2011 and June 2016, 98 patients were included in the intention-to-treat analysis. DRR was 45% (95% confidence interval [CI], 31–59) for olanzapine and 57% (95% CI, 43–71) for haloperidol ( DRR -12%; odds ratio [OR], 0.61; 95% CI, 0.2–1.4; p = .23). Mean TTR was 4.5 days (95% CI, 3.2–5.9 days) for olanzapine and 2.8 days (95% CI, 1.9–3.7 days; p = .18) for haloperidol. Grade =3 treatmen-related adverse events occurred in 5 patients (10.2%) and 10 patients (20.4%) in the olanzapine and haloperidol arm, respectively. Distress rates were similar in both groups. The study was terminated early because of futility.
Conclusion: Delirium treatment with olanzapine in hospitalized patients with advanced cancer did not result in improvement of DRR or TTR compared with haloperidol. Clinical trial identification number. NCT01539733. Dutch Trial Register. NTR2559.
Implications for Practice: Guidelines recommend that pharmacological interventions for delirium treatment in adults with cancer should be limited to patients who have distressing delirium symptoms. It was suggested that atypical antipsychotics, such as olanzapine, outperform haloperidol in efficacy and safety. However, collective data comparing the efficacy and safety of typical versus atypical antipsychotics in patients with cancer are limited. If targeted and judicious use of antipsychotics is considered for the treatment of delirium in patients with advanced cancer, this study demonstrated that there was no statistically significant difference in response to haloperidol or olanzapine. Olanzapine showed an overall better safety profile compared with haloperidol, although this difference was not statistically significant.
Context: The effect of methadone on corrected QT interval (QTc) in patients with cancer pain is not well-known.
Objectives: To describe and characterize the effect of low-, moderate-, and high-dose enteral methadone on QTc interval in patients with cancer.
Methods: Retrospective cohort study including patients prescribed enteral methadone during the 27-month study period. Participants were divided into 3 methadone daily dose groups: <30 (low dose), 30 to 59 (moderate dose), =60 (high dose) mg. The primary outcome was the incidence of QTc prolongation (>450 ms for females and >430 ms for males). Secondary outcomes included the magnitude of change in QTc after starting methadone, the incidence of clinically significant QTc prolongation (>500 ms) and the prevalence of torsades de pointes and syncope.
Results: Two hundred three patients met study inclusion criteria: 91 (45%) low dose, 52 (26%) moderate dose, and 60 (29%) high dose. Incidence of QTc prolongation for low-, moderate-, and high-dose groups was 50 (55%), 37 (71%), and 43 (72%), respectively (P = .039, low vs high dose). Incidence of clinically significant QTc prolongation was 10 (11%), 4 (8%), and 7 (12%) for low-, moderate-, and high-dose groups. For patients without QTc prolongation prior to initiating methadone, 62% of moderate-dose patients and 67% of high-dose patients had QTc prolongation, while taking methadone.
Conclusion: This study found a notably high incidence of QTc prolongation in patients with cancer using enteral methadone. Future studies should aim to determine the risk of adverse cardiac effects in the cancer population and determine appropriate monitoring of methadone for pain management.
Purpose: Nonbenzodiazepines are preferred for continuous sedation in mechanically ventilated intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Although dexmedetomidine and propofol have blood pressure lowering properties, limited data exist about the hemodynamic effects of concomitant administration. The purpose of this study was to compare the adverse hemodynamic event rate with concomitant dexmedetomidine and propofol compared to either agent alone in mechanically ventilated ICU patients.
Methods: This retrospective cohort study was conducted at a university medical center. Adult ICU patients (=18 years) admitted between October 20, 2015, and January 25, 2018, and administered concurrent dexmedetomidine and propofol or either agent alone for =24 hours were included. Mean arterial pressure, heart rate, and sedative dosing requirements were assessed from initiation to 72 hours after initiation. The primary end point was comparing the incidence of hypotension among study groups. Secondary aims compared the incidence of tachycardia and bradycardia as well as clinical outcomes.
Results: Overall, 276 patients were included among combination (n = 93), dexmedetomidine (n = 91), and propofol (n = 92) groups. The incidence of hypotension was significantly higher in patients administered concomitant dexmedetomidine and propofol (62.4%) compared to those administered dexmedetomidine (23.1%) or propofol (23.9%) alone (P < .0001). Adjunctive dexmedetomidine with propofol was also associated with higher rates of clinically relevant hypotension requiring treatment (P = .048). The tachycardia incidence in the concomitant, dexmedetomidine, and propofol groups were 30.1%, 28.6%, and 14.1%, respectively (P = 02). Only 1.4% (n = 4) of all study patients developed bradycardia. Concomitant therapy was an independent risk factor of hypotension compared to either dexmedetomidine (odds ratio [OR]: 6.7, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.61-17.3, P < .0001) or propofol (OR: 2.89, 95% CI: 1.24-6.74, P = .014) monotherapy. Patients experiencing hypotension were associated with worse clinical outcomes.
Conclusion: Concomitant dexmedetomidine and propofol use in mechanically ventilated patients increased the risk of hypotensive events. Adjunctive dexmedetomidine with propofol administration in the critically ill warrants caution.
As palliative care (PC) moves upstream in the course of serious illness and the development of drugs and their indications rapidly expand, PC providers must understand common drug indications and adverse effects to ensure safe and effective prescribing. Pharmacists, experts in the nuances of medication management, are valuable resources and colleagues for PC providers. This article will offer PC providers 10 useful clinical pharmacy tips that PC pharmacists think all PC providers should know for safe and effective symptom management. Close collaboration with or addition of a trained pharmacist to your PC team can improve clinical care for all PC patients.
Checkpoint immunotherapy is a rapidly evolving treatment paradigm for solid organ cancers. These medications are often antibodies that target key regulators of the immune system to unleash an immune system attack on cancer cells. Examples include cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) inhibitors (e.g., ipilimumab) or programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) inhibitors (e.g., pembrolizumab and nivolumab). See Fast Fact #277 for more information. Although heightened immune response against the tumor cells is intended, healthy tissues can also be attacked leading to unintended inflammation of almost any organ system. This has led to a unique set of immune-related adverse events (IRAEs). Given the expanding use of checkpoint immunotherapy, clinical awareness of IRAEs is important among generalist and palliative care clinicians.
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Novel immune-based cancer therapies such as programmed death 1 (PD-1) inhibitors continue to emerge for both curative and palliative intent. Post-market data of PD-1 inhibitors indicate that there are a wide range of side effects associated with these drugs, including ones that have relevance to symptom control and represent a diagnostic challenge at the end of life. We present a case of pembrolizumab-induced hypothyroidism causing extreme fatigue and persistent hypoglycemia.
Objectives: No tools accurately discriminate between older patients who are fit and those who are frail to tolerate systemic palliative treatment. This study evaluates whether domains of geriatric assessment (GA) are associated with increased risk of chemotherapy intolerance in patients who were considered fit to start palliative chemotherapy after clinical evaluation by their treating clinician.
Materials and Methods: This prospective multicenter study included patients =70 years who started first line palliative systemic treatment. Before treatment initiation, patients completed GA including Activities of Daily Life (ADL), Instrumental Activities of Daily Life (IADL), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15) and the Timed Up and Go Test (TUGT). Primary endpoint was treatment modification, defined as inability to complete the first three sessions of systemic treatment as planned. Secondary endpoint was treatment related toxicity = grade 3 (CTCAE Version 4). The association between GA and endpoints were assessed using univariable and multivariable logistic regression analysis.
Results: Ninety-nine patients with median age of 77 (+/- 8) years underwent GA. 48% of the patients required treatment modification and grade 3 toxicity occurred in 53% of patients. One or more geriatric impairments were present in 71% of patients and 32% of patients were frail in two or more domains. Only TUGT was associated with treatment modifications (OR 2.9 [95% CI 1.3–6.5]) and grade 3 toxicities (OR 2.8 [95% CI 1.2–6.3]).
Conclusion: Frailty was common in older patients who were considered fit to receive palliative chemotherapy. Treatment modification was necessary in half of the patients. Only TUGT was significantly associated with treatment modifications and grade 3 chemotherapy toxicities.
Pain is one of the most feared symptoms experienced by patients at the end of life and one of the most difficult to manage. Families identify patient comfort as a priority in hospice, yet many have concerns regarding pain management and medication side effects. Timely, open, and ongoing communication with hospice teams can assuage concerns to improve care and outcomes relevant to pain medication use in hospice. A pilot project was undertaken to improve the patient and family/caregiver experience in end-of-life care relevant to communication regarding pain medication side effects and management within an inpatient hospice. A 5% improvement in the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Services (CAHPS) Hospice quality indicator 18 (Understanding Side Effects) was sought. An evidence-based, interprofessional educational protocol and tool were designed and implemented to guide pertinent conversations. A 6.6% increase in favorable responses to the CAHPS Hospice target indicator occurred over the course of the pilot. Feedback from staff revealed positive responses to the tool with recommended expansion of use across hospice settings. Educational programming holds promise to support communication with hospice patients and families regarding pain medication side effects and management to improve experiential care quality as reflected in CAHPS Hospice surveys.
BACKGROUND: The oligometastatic paradigm suggests that some patients with a limited number of metastases might be cured if all lesions are eradicated. Evidence from randomised controlled trials to support this paradigm is scarce. We aimed to assess the effect of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) on survival, oncological outcomes, toxicity, and quality of life in patients with a controlled primary tumour and one to five oligometastatic lesions.
METHODS: This randomised, open-label phase 2 study was done at 10 hospitals in Canada, the Netherlands, Scotland, and Australia. Patients aged 18 or older with a controlled primary tumour and one to five metastatic lesions, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group score of 0-1, and a life expectancy of at least 6 months were eligible. After stratifying by the number of metastases (1-3 vs 4-5), we randomly assigned patients (1:2) to receive either palliative standard of care treatments alone (control group), or standard of care plus SABR to all metastatic lesions (SABR group), using a computer-generated randomisation list with permuted blocks of nine. Neither patients nor physicians were masked to treatment allocation. The primary endpoint was overall survival. We used a randomised phase 2 screening design with a two-sided a of 0·20 (wherein p<0·20 designates a positive trial). All analyses were intention to treat. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01446744.
FINDINGS: 99 patients were randomised between Feb 10, 2012, and Aug 30, 2016. Of 99 patients, 33 (33%) were assigned to the control group and 66 (67%) to the SABR group. Two (3%) patients in the SABR group did not receive allocated treatment and withdrew from the trial; two (6%) patients in the control group also withdrew from the trial. Median follow-up was 25 months (IQR 19-54) in the control group versus 26 months (23-37) in the SABR group. Median overall survival was 28 months (95% CI 19-33) in the control group versus 41 months (26-not reached) in the SABR group (hazard ratio 0·57, 95% CI 0·30-1·10; p=0·090). Adverse events of grade 2 or worse occurred in three (9%) of 33 controls and 19 (29%) of 66 patients in the SABR group (p=0·026), an absolute increase of 20% (95% CI 5-34). Treatment-related deaths occurred in three (4·5%) of 66 patients after SABR, compared with none in the control group.
INTERPRETATION: SABR was associated with an improvement in overall survival, meeting the primary endpoint of this trial, but three (4·5%) of 66 patients in the SABR group had treatment-related death. Phase 3 trials are needed to conclusively show an overall survival benefit, and to determine the maximum number of metastatic lesions wherein SABR provides a benefit.
FUNDING: Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and London Regional Cancer Program Catalyst Grant.
BACKGROUND: More than 15,000 children die annually in the United States due to an underlying life-limiting disease and the majority of those children experience distressing symptoms, which are not adequately relieved, such as pain and dyspnea. Multimodal analgesia, that is multiple agents, interventions, rehabilitation, psychological modalities, and integrative (nonpharmacologic) therapies, act synergistically for more effective pediatric pain and symptom control with fewer side effects than a single analgesic or modality. However, opioids, such as morphine, fentanyl, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and methadone (in the United Kingdom: diamorphine) remain the mainstay medication to effectively treat pain and dyspnea in children with serious illness.
METHODS: This article reviews commonly used opioids in Pediatric Palliative Care, which a special emphasis on 2 potentially particularly effective multimechanistic opioids: tramadol and methadone.
RESULTS: Methadone, due to its multimechanistic action profile, is possibly among the most effective and most underutilized opioid analgesics in children with severe unrelieved pain at end of life. However, methadone should not be prescribed by those unfamiliar with its use: Its effects should be closely monitored for several days, particularly when it is first started and after any dose changes.
CONCLUSIONS: Tramadol appears to play a key role in treating episodes of inconsolability in children with progressive neurologic, metabolic, or chromosomally based condition with impairment of the central nervous system. However, the recent 2017 United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning against pediatric use of tramadol does not seem to be based on clinical evidence, and therefore puts children at risk for unrelieved pain or increased respiratory depression.
OBJECTIVE: Older people approaching the end of life are at high risk for adverse drug reactions. Approaching end of life should change the therapeutic aims, triggering a reduction in the number of drugs. The main aim of this study was to describe the preventive and symptomatic drug treatments prescribed to patients discharged from internal medicine and geriatric wards, with limited life expectancy. The secondary aim was to describe the potentially severe DDIs.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We analyzed Registry of Polytherapies Societa Italiana di Medicina Interna (REPOSI), a network of internal medicine and geriatric wards, to describe the drug therapy of patients discharged with limited life expectancy.
RESULTS: The study sample comprised 55 patients discharged with limited life expectancy. Patients with at least one preventive medication that could be considered for de-prescription at end-of-life were significantly fewer from admission to discharge (30; 54.5% and 21; 38.2%, p = 0.02). ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, lipid-lowering drugs and clonidine were the most frequent potentially avoidable medications prescribed at discharge, followed by xanthine oxidase inhibitors and drugs to prevent fractures. Thirty-seven (67.3%) patients were also exposed to at least one potentially severe drug-drug interaction at discharge.
CONCLUSION: Hospital discharge is associated with small reductions in the use of commonly prescribed preventive medications in patients discharged with limited life expectancy. Cardiovascular drugs are the most frequent potentially avoidable preventive medications. A consensus framework, or shared criteria for potentially inappropriate medication in elderly patients with limited life expectancy could be useful to further improve drug prescription.
Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) have an impact on patient morbidity and mortality. Palliative care patients constitute a vulnerable population due to the complexity of their care and treatments. This study sought to identify ADRs in palliative care, assess their severity and preventability, and identify specific medications most commonly involved. This retrospective cohort study included patients who received a consult by the hospital's palliative care service over a 1-year period. Records were reviewed to identify ADR occurrences, causative and resulting events, and variables used to determine preventability and severity. Of the 430 patients who met inclusion criteria, 247 patients experienced an ADR (57.4%). In total, 440 ADRs were documented, with 45.7% of patients experiencing more than one. Patients with repeated hospitalizations, increased medication usage, documented drug allergies, and cancer diagnoses were more likely to experience an ADR. No associations were found between occurrences of ADR with gender or Charlson comorbidity scores. The majority of ADRs were of moderate severity (64.6%) and considered potentially preventable (81.5%). Organ systems most commonly affected by ADRs were gastrointestinal (32.7%) and neurological (15.9%). Antimicrobials, opioids, and anticoagulants were the most common causative agents. ADRs are commonly experienced in palliative care patients and are often preventable. Identification of risk factors for ADRs may prevent occurrences in the complex palliative care patient.
BACKGROUND: Olanzapine is commonly utilized in palliative care for the treatment of nausea, and a known side effect of olanzapine is increased appetite. Olanzapine is also known to cause re-emergence of eating disorders (EDs) in patients utilizing olanzapine for its antipsychotic effects. It is unclear to what extent this may also occur in patients with serious/life-limiting illness.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We present a case of a 70-year-old female with recurrent ovarian cancer and a history of bulimia nervosa (BN) that developed resurgence of her BN after initiation of olanzapine for cancer-associated nausea. Her BN resolved with reducing the dose of olanzapine.
CONCLUSION: It is important to recognize that recurrence of EDs can occur when using olanzapine in the palliative care setting.
Objectifs: En fin de vie, lors des sédations profondes et continues maintenues jusqu’au décès, l’évaluation correcte de la profondeur de la sédation et de la dose suffisante d’analgésie pour certains soins potentiellement douloureux est une condition éthique à leur réalisation, afin de prévenir des situations d’éveil éventuelles. Développé dans le domaine de l’anesthésie, la vidéopupillométrie est une technique de surveillance de la nociception explorant le système nerveux autonome. L’objectif de cet article est de proposer une revue narrative de la littérature sur la physiologie pupillaire, les interférences médicamenteuses connues et les différents domaines d’application de la pupillométrie.
Matériel et méthode : Les bases de données Medline, ScienceDirect et EM-Premium ont été interrogées. Les mots clés suivants ont été utilisés : « palliative care », « end-of-life », « pupillometry », « pupillary light reflex », « pupillary dilatation reflex », « monitoring », « pain », « nociception », « sedation », « awakeness ».
Résultats: Sur le plan physiologique, la pupillométrie est capable de refléter le tonus sympathique et parasympathique avec à la fois le réflexe photomoteur et le réflexe de dilatation pupillaire. Les interférences pharmacologiques sont nombreuses et il est important de les garder à l’esprit. Il n’existe actuellement aucune étude concernant les interférences qui peuvent être causées par les benzodiazépines, comme le midazolam. Dans la pratique clinique, en particulier en anesthésie, cet équilibre du tonus s’est avéré capable de prédire, de prévenir et d’évaluer la nociception pendant l’anesthésie. Pendant la sédation procédurale, certaines études apportent également la preuve que l’altération du réflexe photomoteur pourrait être le reflet de l’activité corticale et sous-corticale. Une bonne corrélation a été retrouvée avec les scores cliniques ou avec d’autres techniques de surveillance, comme l’indice électroencéphalographique bispectral (BIS), pour évaluer la profondeur de la sédation.
Conclusion : La pupillométrie pourrait permettre un contrôle adapté de la balance sédation–analgésie pour contribuer à la prévention d’états d’éveil involontaires et potentiellement inconfortable lors des sédations profondes et continues en fin de vie mais aussi à la prise en charge antalgique des patients en situation palliative.
OBJECTIVES: Extrapyramidal side effects (EPSEs) are serious potentially reversible side effects of antipsychotic and other medications that can cause distress for patients. A core principle of palliative care involves optimising quality of life. If side effects of medications are burdensome, it is imperative that we address this issue. The aim of the study was to determine and describe the burden of EPSEs in a specialist inpatient unit.
METHODS: Consenting patients who met inclusion criteria were assessed for EPSE with two validated screening tests, the Modified Simpson-Angus Scale (MSAS) and Barnes Akathisia Rating Scale (BARS). Additional demographic data were collected including medications associated with EPSE, previous history of EPSE and known risk factors that may predispose a patient to EPSE.
RESULTS: 43% inpatients met inclusion criteria. At least 66% of patients were taking regular medications associated with EPSE. Of those, 25% were taking =2 medications associated with EPSE. The MSAS revealed 50% scored <3, 44% scored 3–5% and 6% scored 6–11. Seven patients had at least one ‘not rateable score’. In the BARS (sitting±standing), 94% scored 0/5 and 6% scored 1/5. 12.5% of participants were able to stand for 2 min to complete the BARS.
CONCLUSIONS: 50% screened positive for EPSE. The complete BARS was unsuitable for most participants. The MSAS, while allowing a not rateable score, may underestimate EPSE. The frailty of an inpatient unit population impacts on applicability of screening tools and may therefore underestimate the burden of the problem in this population. Development of a population-specific screening tool warrants further investigation.
A patient receiving maintenance treatment with methadone (MTM) was treated with parenteral methadone for intense pain crises in cancer of the tongue with severe mucositis and dysphagia. Authors like Manfredi et al describe good results in the use of methadone as an analgesic in patients with MTM. The difficulties which arise with parenteral use derive from the drug itself and from those to whom the treatment is administered: serious side effects like malignant arrhythmias and respiratory depression and the complex nature of these patients, addicted to opiates with a terminal illness and pain which is difficult to treat. It should be administered by experts in palliative care in a healthcare unit where it can be successfully monitored.
BACKGROUND: Corticosteroids are frequently utilized in the palliative care setting to combat symptoms such as fatigue, dyspnea, pain, weakness, anorexia, cachexia, nausea, and vomiting. Often times, adverse effects arise with corticosteroid use, and it is unclear whether switching to another corticosteroid would reduce the risk of specific adverse effects or what measures can be taken to alleviate the adverse effects.
OBJECTIVE: This article aims to review the differentiating pharmacokinetics, potency, and adverse effect profiles of corticosteroids and summarize their clinical applicability.
METHODS: A literature review of "corticosteroids" and "palliative care" was performed using the PubMed database through July 2018. Original studies relevant to the purpose of this study were identified and those that met inclusion criteria were included.
RESULTS: Although corticosteroids share many common factors, including similar pharmacokinetic, pharmacodymanic, and adverse effect profiles, they have significant differences when the details of these variables are reviewed. Providers that prescribe corticosteroids for symptom management should be aware of these differences and the recommended management strategies.
CONCLUSIONS: Recognition of corticosteroid induced adverse effect profiles and possible management strategies is crucial to optimal symptom management in palliative care patients.