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ABSTRACT: Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease affecting the brain and spinal cord. It results in episodes of neurological deficit which recover (relapses) as well as accumulation of sustained disability with the passage of time. Corticosteroids are potent anti-inflammatory drugs. It is postulated that long-term use of steroids may reduce the accumulation of disability. The reviewers found three studies addressing this issue. A meta-analysis showed a trend towards a beneficial effect of long-term corticosteroids on accumulation of disability; however only two small studies contributed to this result. It was not possible to reliably comment on the effect of long-term corticosteroids on the frequency of relapses. Side effects were poorly documented. Therefore rigorous randomised controlled trials of this treatment are warranted.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) 02/2008; DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD006264.pub2 · 6.03 Impact Factor