Steroids (AL amyloidosis) Infosheet

This Infosheet explains what steroids are, how they are used in AL amyloidosis, how they are given and possible side-effects.

Glucocorticoid steroids are known to be effective in killing abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow without damaging
normal bone marrow function. These steroids can also suppress the immune system, which can help to reduce pain caused by inflammation.

Dexamethasone and prednisolone are the steroids most commonly used in treating AL amyloidosis.

While they may be used on their own (as a monotherapy) steroids are most commonly used in combination with other treatments.

Side-effects of steroids vary according to the dose, and each individual patient’s reaction to steroids may be different. Common side-effects include:

  • Mood changes
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Stomach pain
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Increased appetite
  • Fluid retention
  • Increased blood sugar:
  • Muscle wasting and muscle weakness: