Methylprednisolone and acute spinal cord injury: an update of the randomized evidence.
Department of Epidemiology, Yale University School of Medicine, 60 College Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA. Spine
(Impact Factor: 2.3).
01/2002; 26(24 Suppl):S47-54.
Randomized trials are widely recognized as providing the most reliable evidence for assessing efficacy and safety of therapeutic interventions. This evidence base is used to evaluate the current status of methylprednisolone (MPSS) in the early treatment of acute spinal cord injury.
Medline, CINAHL, and other specified databases were searched for MeSH headings "methylprednisolone and acute spinal cord injury." The Cochrane Library and an existing systematic review on the topic were also searched.
Five randomized controlled trials were identified that evaluated high-dose MPSS for acute spinal cord injury. Three trials by the NASCIS group were of high methodologic quality, and a Japanese and French trial of moderate to low, methodologic quality. Meta-analysis of the final result of three trials comparing 24-hour high-dose MPSS with placebo or no therapy indicates an average unilateral 4.1 motor function score improvement (95% confidence interval 0.6-7.6, P = 0.02) in patients treated with MPSS. This neurologic recovery is likely to be correlated with improved functional recovery in some patients. The safety of this regimen of MPSS is evident from the spinal cord injury trials and a systematic review of 51 surgical trials of high-dose MPSS.
High-dose MPSS given within 8 hours of acute spinal cord injury is a safe and modestly effective therapy that may result in important clinical recovery for some patients. Further trials are needed to identify superior pharmacologic therapies and to test drugs that may sequentially influence the postinjury cascade.
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