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Effect of Different Corticosteroid Dosing Regimens on Clinical Outcomes in Boys With Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Michela GuglieriORCiD, Emerita Professor Katherine Bushby, Emerita Professor Elaine McCollORCiD, Chris Speed, Jennifer Wilkinson, Dr Michelle Eagle, Dr Tracey Willis, Professor Volker StraubORCiD, Dr Henriette van Ruiten


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Importance: Corticosteroids improve strength and function in boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. However, there is uncertainty regarding the optimum regimen and dosage. Objective: To compare efficacy and adverse effects of the 3 most frequently prescribed corticosteroid regimens in boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Design, Setting, and Participants: Double-blind, parallel-group randomized clinical trial including 196 boys aged 4 to 7 years with Duchenne muscular dystrophy who had not previously been treated with corticosteroids; enrollment occurred between January 30, 2013, and September 17, 2016, at 32 clinic sites in 5 countries. The boys were assessed for 3 years (last participant visit on October 16, 2019). Interventions: Participants were randomized to daily prednisone (0.75 mg/kg) (n = 65), daily deflazacort (0.90 mg/kg) (n = 65), or intermittent prednisone (0.75 mg/kg for 10 days on and then 10 days off) (n = 66). Main Outcomes and Measures: The global primary outcome comprised 3 end points: rise from the floor velocity (in rise/seconds), forced vital capacity (in liters), and participant or parent global satisfaction with treatment measured by the Treatment Satisfaction Questionnaire for Medication (TSQM; score range, 0 to 100), each averaged across all study visits after baseline. Pairwise group comparisons used a Bonferroni-adjusted significance level of .017. Results: Among the 196 boys randomized (mean age, 5.8 years [SD, 1.0 years]), 164 (84%) completed the trial. Both daily prednisone and daily deflazacort were more effective than intermittent prednisone for the primary outcome (P < .001 for daily prednisone vs intermittent prednisone using a global test; P = .017 for daily deflazacort vs intermittent prednisone using a global test) and the daily regimens did not differ significantly (P = .38 for daily prednisone vs daily deflazacort using a global test). The between-group differences were principally attributable to rise from the floor velocity (0.06 rise/s [98.3% CI, 0.03 to 0.08 rise/s] for daily prednisone vs intermittent prednisone [P = .003]; 0.06 rise/s [98.3% CI, 0.03 to 0.09 rise/s] for daily deflazacort vs intermittent prednisone [P = .017]; and -0.004 rise/s [98.3% CI, -0.03 to 0.02 rise/s] for daily prednisone vs daily deflazacort [P = .75]). The pairwise comparisons for forced vital capacity and TSQM global satisfaction subscale score were not statistically significant. The most common adverse events were abnormal behavior (22 [34%] in the daily prednisone group, 25 [38%] in the daily deflazacort group, and 24 [36%] in the intermittent prednisone group), upper respiratory tract infection (24 [37%], 19 [29%], and 24 [36%], respectively), and vomiting (19 [29%], 17 [26%], and 15 [23%]). Conclusions and Relevance: Among patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, treatment with daily prednisone or daily deflazacort, compared with intermittent prednisone alternating 10 days on and 10 days off, resulted in significant improvement over 3 years in a composite outcome comprising measures of motor function, pulmonary function, and satisfaction with treatment; there was no significant difference between the 2 daily corticosteroid regimens. The findings support the use of a daily corticosteroid regimen over the intermittent prednisone regimen tested in this study as initial treatment for boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT01603407.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Guglieri M, Bushby K, McDermott MP, Hart KA, Tawil R, Martens WB, Herr BE, McColl E, Speed C, Wilkinson J, Kirschner J, King WM, Eagle M, Brown MW, Willis T, Griggs RC, Straub V, van Ruiten H, Childs A-M, Ciafaloni E, Shieh PB, Spinty S, Maggi L, Baranello G, Butterfield RJ, Horrocks IA, Roper H, Alhaswani Z, Flanigan KM, Kuntz NL, Manzur A, Darras BT, Kang PB, Morrison L, Krzesniak-Swinarska M, Mah JK, Mongini TE, Ricci F, von der Hagen M, Finkel RS, O'Reardon K, Wicklund M, Kumar A, McDonald CM, Han JJ, Joyce N, Henricson EK, Schara-Schmidt U, Gangfuss A, Wilichowski E, Barohn RJ, Statland JM, Campbell C, Vita G, Vita GL, Howard JF, Hughes I, McMillan HJ, Pegoraro E, Bello L, Burnette WB, Thangarajh M, Chang T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: JAMA

Year: 2022

Volume: 327

Issue: 15

Pages: 1456-1468

Online publication date: 05/04/2022

Acceptance date: 14/03/2022

ISSN (print): 0098-7484

ISSN (electronic): 1538-3598

Publisher: American Medical Association


DOI: 10.1001/jama.2022.4315

PubMed id: 35381069


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