Short versus long initial prednisone treatment in steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome in children



A total of 184 children aged, 13 months to 11 years, suffering from their first attack of steroid-responsive nephrotic syndrome were included in a randomized study. They were treated according to three treatment protocols. All children received l-2mg of prednisone/kg body weight/day (up to 80 mg daily) for 4 weeks, and thereafter 1 mg/kg body weight/48 h for the next 4 weeks. Treatment was discontinued at this point in 44 children (protocol A); in 68 (protocol B) the dose was reduced by 25% each week, tapering off to 0 at the end of the third month, while in 72 children (protocol C), after the first 2 months of initial treatment the dose was reduced by 25% each month and tapered off to 0 by the end of the sixth month. All patients completed a 2-year follow-up period after withdrawal of prednisone. Treatment results were expressed as: percentage of children relapse-free within the first 6 months and 2 years after withdrawal of treatment, and average number of relapses per patient per year. The best results were obtained in children who had been treated for 6 months: 65.3% of them remained relapse-free within the first 6 months and 50% over the entire 2-year follow-up period; the number of relapses per patient per year in this group was 0.49. The respective values for children treated 2 and 3 months were: 36.4% and 32.4% for the 6-month period; 27.3% and 20.6% for the 2-year period; the numbers of relapses per patient per year were 0.79 and 0.77, respectively. The frequency of corticosteroid side effects such as transient hypertension and cushingoid obesity during the initial treatment, and growth retardation or recurrent “respiratory tract” infections observed during the following 2-year follow-up period, did not increase after prolongation of the initial treatment.Initial treatment period, steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome

J Ksiek, Department of Nephrology, Child Health Centre, 04-736 Warsaw, Poland