The effects of prednisone on muscle function and the extent of steroid-related adverse effects were studied in 17 ambulant children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) at University Hospital, Groningen; Rehabilitation Centre, Utrecht; and Leiden University Medical Centre, the Netherlands. In a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial with 6 months of treatment, the time needed to run 9 m and to climb 4 stairs was significantly lower during prednisone treatment, and the quality of life was not affected. Short-term prednisone treatment is recommended to preserve motor function in ambulant children with DMD. [1]

COMMENT. In previous studies of the effects of prednisone in DMD, a significant increase in muscle strength, pulmonary function, and functional ability has been demonstrated in a randomized controlled trial in 99 boys treated at the University of Rochester, NY [2]. Improvement was rapid, occurring in 10 days and was maximal after 2 months. A dose of 0.75 mg/kg/day was recommended in patients who experience functional decline. In another report [3], the beneficial effects of prednisone, 0.65 mg/kg/day, extending over a two year observation period were demonstrated in 89 boys with DMD. See Ped Neur Briefs June 1991 for further articles on prednisone in DMD and its effect on immunological mechanisms.