Corticosteroids for Bacterial Keratitis: The Steroids for Corneal Ulcers Trial (SCUT)


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Abstract

ObjectiveTo determine whether there is a benefit in clinical outcomes with the use of topical corticosteroids as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of bacterial corneal ulcers.MethodsRandomized, placebo-controlled, double-masked, multicenter clinical trial comparing prednisolone sodium phosphate, 1.0%, to placebo as adjunctive therapy for the treatment of bacterial corneal ulcers. Eligible patients had a culture-positive bacterial corneal ulcer and received topical moxifloxacin for at least 48 hours before randomization.Main Outcome MeasuresThe primary outcome was best spectacle-corrected visual acuity (BSCVA) at 3 months from enrollment. Secondary outcomes included infiltrate/scar size, reepithelialization, and corneal perforation.ResultsBetween September 1, 2006, and February 22, 2010, 1769 patients were screened for the trial and 500 patients were enrolled. No significant difference was observed in the 3-month BSCVA (−0.009 logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution [logMAR]; 95% CI, −0.085 to 0.068; P = .82), infiltrate/scar size (P = .40), time to reepithelialization (P = .44), or corneal perforation (P > .99). A significant effect of corticosteroids was observed in subgroups of baseline BSCVA (P = .03) and ulcer location (P = .04). At 3 months, patients with vision of counting fingers or worse at baseline had 0.17 logMAR better visual acuity with corticosteroids (95% CI, −0.31 to −0.02; P = .03) compared with placebo, and patients with ulcers that were completely central at baseline had 0.20 logMAR better visual acuity with corticosteroids (−0.37 to −0.04; P = .02).ConclusionsWe found no overall difference in 3-month BSCVA and no safety concerns with adjunctive corticosteroid therapy for bacterial corneal ulcers.Application to Clinical PracticeAdjunctive topical corticosteroid use does not improve 3-month vision in patients with bacterial corneal ulcers.Trial Registrationclinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00324168

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