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Safety, Feasibility and Effectiveness of Pulse Methylprednisolone Therapy in Comparison with Intramuscular Adrenocorticotropic Hormone in Children with West Syndrome

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To assess the feasibility, effectiveness, and safety of pulse methylprednisolone in comparison with intramuscular adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) therapy in children with West syndrome (WS).


This open-label, pilot study with a parallel-group assignment included 44 recently diagnosed children with WS. Methylprednisolone therapy was given as intravenous infusion at a dose of 30 mg/kg/d for five days followed by oral steroids 1 mg/kg gradually tapered over 5–6 wk. The efficacy outcomes included a cessation of epileptic spasms (as per caregiver reporting) and resolution of hypsarrhythmia on electroencephalogram; safety outcome was the frequency of various adverse effects.


By day 14 of therapy, 6/18 (33.3%) children in the methylprednisolone group and 10/26 (38.5%) children in the ACTH group achieved cessation of epileptic spasms [group difference − 5.2%; confidence interval (CI) -30.7 to 22.8; p = 0.73]. However, by six weeks of therapy, 4/18 (22.2%) children in the methylprednisolone group and 11/26 (42.3%) children in the ACTH group had cessation of epileptic spasms (group difference − 20.1%; CI -43.0 to 8.4; p = 0.17). Hypertension was more commonly observed in the ACTH group (10 children) than in the methylprednisolone group (2 children; p = 0.046). Pulse methylprednisolone therapy was relatively safe.


The study observed limited effectiveness of both ACTH and pulse methylprednisolone therapy, which may partially be due to preponderance of structural etiology and a long treatment lag. However, pulse methylprednisolone therapy appeared to be safe, tolerable, and feasible for management of WS.

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MR, PS, AG planned the study design. MR collected data. MR, AG, JKS, PM and PS were involved in data interpretation. MR and PM wrote the draft. All authors approved the final draft. PS would be the guarantor of the study.

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Correspondence to Pratibha Singhi.

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Rajpurohit, M., Gupta, A., Madaan, P. et al. Safety, Feasibility and Effectiveness of Pulse Methylprednisolone Therapy in Comparison with Intramuscular Adrenocorticotropic Hormone in Children with West Syndrome. Indian J Pediatr 88, 663–667 (2021).

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