Single- versus divided-dose prednisolone therapy for relapses of nephrotic syndrome
Relapses of nephrotic syndrome are usually treated with prednisolone, initially in three to four daily divided doses. The divided-dose regimen may cause poor patient compliance and greater adrenal suppression. In a prospective randomized controlled trial, we compared the efficacy of prednisolone in inducing remission of nephrotic syndrome, when given either as a single dose or in divided doses. Patients with steroid-responsive nephrotic syndrome with relapse were randomized to receive prednisolone 2 mg/kg per day, either as a single morning dose or in three divided doses for 2 weeks, followed by 1.5 mg/kg on every alternate day for 4 weeks. Parents tested the urine for protein daily until remission (nil proteinuria for 3 consecutive days). The duration between initiation of treatment and achievement of remission was recorded. Of 106 patients, 94 (47 each in single-dose and divided-dose groups) completed the study. The patients in the two groups were similar in relation to age, sex, number of relapses in the preceding year, and blood levels of creatinine, albumin, and cholesterol. The mean time for achievement of remission in the single- and divided-dose groups was 8.6 and 8.5 days, respectively (P = 0.94, power 96%). After 9 months’ follow-up, there were no differences in the frequency of relapses and cumulative dose of prednisolone received in the two groups. The observations suggest that prednisolone administered in a single daily dose or in divided doses is equally effective in inducing remission in patients with relapsing nephrotic syndrome.
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