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Corticosteroid therapy in nephrotic syndrome: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

Arch Dis Child. 2000 Jul;83(1):45-51.

Hodson EM, Knight JF, Willis NS, Craig JC.

Centre for Kidney Research, Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, PO Box 3515, Parramatta, Sydney, NSW 2124, Australia. Elisah@nch.edu.au

AIMS: To determine the benefits and toxicity of different corticosteroid regimes in preventing relapse in steroid responsive nephrotic syndrome. 

DESIGN: Meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. 

SUBJECTS: Twelve trials involving 868 children aged 3 months to 18 years. 

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Frequency of relapse. 

RESULTS: A meta-analysis of five trials, which compared two months of prednisone with three months or more in the first episode, showed that the longer duration significantly reduced the risk of relapse at 12-24 months (relative risk 0.73; 95% confidence interval 0.60 to 0.89) without an increase in adverse events. There was an inverse linear relation (relative risk 1.382 (SE 0.215) – 0.133 (SE 0.048) duration; r(2) = 0.66; p = 0.05) between the duration of treatment and risk of relapse. 

CONCLUSIONS: Children in their first episode of steroid responsive nephrotic syndrome should be treated with prednisone for at least three months, with an increase in benefit being shown for up to seven months of treatment.

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