Four children with juvenile osteopetrosis are described who were treated with a combination of prednisone and a low calcium, high phosphate diet. One of the children, treated as a neonate, achieved complete clinical and radiological remission from the disease after nine months, at which point treatment was stopped. There have been no signs of recurrence for two years. Two who did not start treatment until over 24 months of age have shown a good clinical and radiological response but have remained on treatment for six years. The fourth child started treatment at 6 months and showed a good clinical response, but x ray films showed no change nine months later. He was then lost to follow up, stopped treatment, and died two years later of a septicaemia. These patients provide further evidence for the efficacy of steroids in juvenile osteopetrosis, and the combination with the low calcium, high phosphate diet described offers a potentially effective alternative treatment to marrow transplantation, both for the haematological and skeletal complications of the disorder.
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