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


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.

  • nephrotic syndrome
  • corticosteroid therapy
  • systematic review
  • meta-analysis

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