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High dose intravenous methylprednisolone pulse therapy versus oral prednisone for thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy.

Author(s): Kauppinen-Makelin R, Karma A, Leinonen E, Loyttyniemi E, Salonen O, Sane T, Setala K, Viikari J, Heufelder A, Valimaki M

Affiliation(s): Department of Medicine, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland.

Publication date & source: 2002-06, Acta Ophthalmol Scand., 80(3):316-21.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Evaluation Studies; Randomized Controlled Trial

PURPOSE: To compare the effectiveness of intravenous (i.v.) methylprednisolone pulse therapy and oral prednisone when used as the initial treatment of patients with mild or moderate thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy. METHODS: Thirty-three consecutive patients with thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy in Helsinki and Turku University Hospitals were randomly assigned either i.v. methylprednisolone pulse therapy (group A, n = 18) or oral prednisone (group B, n = 15). Treatment outcomes were measured by subjective changes in the grade of diplopia and quantitatively in several ophthalmic variables at 3 and 12 months. Any decision to proceed with additional treatment at 3 months was made on clinical grounds. The study was open in respect of both the initial treatment and the need for additional therapy. RESULTS: No significant differences in the grade of diplopia, proptosis or soft tissue activity scores were noted between groups A and B from 0 to 3 months. However, group A required additional forms of therapy at 3 months less frequently than did group B (p = 0.038). CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that i.v. methylprednisolone pulse therapy and oral prednisone are equally effective as initial treatments for thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy where diplopia, proptosis and signs of soft tissue inflammation are concerned. When additional treatment is required, i.v. methylprednisolone pulse therapy may be more effective than oral prednisone. However, the study's limitations meant that any decision to give additional treatment after the initial therapy was made on clinical grounds.

Page last updated: 2006-01-31

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