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Methylprednisolone pulse therapy for patients with moderately severe Graves' orbitopathy: a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled study.

Author(s): van Geest RJ, Sasim IV, Koppeschaar HP, Kalmann R, Stravers SN, Bijlsma WR, Mourits MP

Affiliation(s): Donders Institute of Ophthalmology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands. r.j.vangeest@amc.uva.nl

Publication date & source: 2008-02, Eur J Endocrinol., 158(2):229-37.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial

OBJECTIVE: To assess whether methylprednisolone (MP) pulse therapy is efficacious in the treatment of moderately severe Graves' orbitopathy (GO). DESIGN: Prospective, placebo (PL)-controlled, double-blind, randomized study. METHODS: Fifteen previously untreated patients with active, moderately severe GO participated in the study; 6 patients received MP and 9 patients a PL. Moderately severe disease was defined using the NOSPECS classification of clinical signs of GO . Activity was measured with the clinical activity score (CAS). A dose of 500 mg MP or only solvent was administered intravenously, over three consecutive days, in four cycles at 4 weekly intervals (6 g of MP in total). Qualitatively, a successful treatment outcome was defined as an improvement in one major and/or two minor criteria in the worst eye at week 48. The major criteria were: improvement in diplopia grade; improvement in eye movement; a decrease in CAS of three points. The minor criteria were: decrease of eyelid retraction; decrease of proptosis; improvement in grade of soft tissue swelling; a decrease in CAS of two points. RESULTS: The qualitative treatment outcome was successful at the end of the trial in five out of six (83%) patients receiving MP and in one out of nine (11%) patients given the PL (relative risk=7.5; (95% confidence interval 1.1-49.3), P=0.005). The treatment was well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS: In spite of the small number of patients, a significant difference in outcome was observed between MP- and PL-treated patients. We conclude that MP pulse therapy appears to be an effective treatment for active, moderately severe GO.

Page last updated: 2008-03-26

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