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Scientific Articles

Corticosteroids for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy

key information

source: The Cochrane database of systematic reviews

year: 2016

authors: Matthews E, Brassington R, Kuntzer T, Jichi F, Manzur AY



Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common muscular dystrophy of childhood. Untreated, this incurable disease, which has an X-linked recessive inheritance, is characterised by muscle wasting and loss of walking ability, leading to complete wheelchair dependence by 13 years of age. Prolongation of walking is a major aim of treatment. Evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) indicates that corticosteroids significantly improve muscle strength and function in boys with DMD in the short term (six months), and strength at two years (two-year data on function are very limited). Corticosteroids, now part of care recommendations for DMD, are largely in routine use, although questions remain over their ability to prolong walking, when to start treatment, longer-term balance of benefits versus harms, and choice of corticosteroid or regimen.We have extended the scope of this updated review to include comparisons of different corticosteroids and dosing regimens.



To assess the effects of corticosteroids on prolongation of walking ability, muscle strength, functional ability, and quality of life in DMD; to address the question of whether benefit is maintained over the longer term (more than two years); to assess adverse events; and to compare efficacy and adverse effects of different corticosteroid preparations and regimens.

organization: National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, UK

DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003725.pub4

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