Randomized Trial of Pulsed Corticosteroid Therapy for Primary Treatment of Kawasaki Disease

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Abstract

Methods

We conducted a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine whether the addition of intravenous methylprednisolone to conventional primary therapy for Kawasaki disease reduces the risk of coronary-artery abnormalities. Patients with 10 or fewer days of fever were randomly assigned to receive intravenous methylprednisolone, 30 mg per kilogram of body weight (101 patients), or placebo (98 patients). All patients then received conventional therapy with intravenous immune globulin, 2 g per kilogram, as well as aspirin, 80 to 100 mg per kilogram per day until they were afebrile for 48 hours and 3 to 5 mg per kilogram per day thereafter.

Results

At week 1 and week 5 after randomization, patients in the two study groups had similar coronary dimensions, expressed as z scores adjusted for body-surface area, absolute dimensions, and changes in dimensions. As compared with patients receiving placebo, patients receiving intravenous methylprednisolone had a somewhat shorter initial period of hospitalization (P=0.05) and, at week 1, a lower erythrocyte sedimentation rate (P=0.02) and a tendency toward a lower C-reactive protein level (P=0.07). However, the two groups had similar numbers of days spent in the hospital, numbers of days of fever, rates of retreatment with intravenous immune globulin, and numbers of adverse events.

Conclusions

Our data do not provide support for the addition of a single pulsed dose of intravenous methylprednisolone to conventional intravenous immune globulin therapy for the routine primary treatment of children with Kawasaki disease. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00132080.)

N Engl J Med 2007;356

663-75.

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