Project Information

Fall risk associated with steroid use on inpatient oncology units at a large academic medical center

Project Description: Glucocorticoids, often referred to as steroids are synthetic, biologically active derivatives of cortisol secreted by the adrenal cortex. They provide several therapeutic benefits including anti-inflammatory, anti-neoplastic, anti-nausea, and immunosuppressing effects. However, steroids are not without adverse effects when used for prolonged periods of times. One of the adverse effects commonly observed is steroid induced myopathy, which usually effects the femoral muscles in the legs. As patients are on steroids for longer periods of time, this can lead to muscle weakness and subsequently lead to falls. Recently, there have been a high number of falls on the oncology units. Steroids are often employed on these for prevent and treatment of nausea, treatment of graft versus host disease, and for the treatment of cancer. Oncology patients are also concomitantly on other medications that can increase a patient’s chance of falling, like opioids and benzodiazepines. We will identify patients that have fallen while admitted to 7W or 8E and review their active medications for use of steroid prior to or during their admission, as well as other medications that could increase a patient’s risk of falling.

QPI: Khushboo, Patel, (



UF Health Big Aims:

MeSH Keywords: oncology, hematology, steroid, falls risk, chemotherapy