Sunday, September 24, 2017

Prednisolone versus ACTH for infantile spasms

Jithangi Wanigasinghe, Carukshi Arambepola, Shalini Sri Ranganathan, Samanmali Sumanasena. Randomized, Single-Blind, Parallel Clinical Trial on Efficacy of Oral Prednisolone Versus Intramuscular Corticotropin: A 12-Month Assessment of Spasm Control in West Syndrome.  Pediatric Neurology.  In press.



We earlier completed a single-blind, parallel-group, randomized clinical trial to test the null hypothesis that adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) is not superior to high-dose prednisolone for short-term control of West syndrome. We now present long-term follow-up data for spasm control for individuals who completed this earlier trial.


Infants with untreated West syndrome were randomized to receive 14 days of prednisolone (40 to 60 mg/day) or intramuscular long-acting ACTH (40 to 60 IU every other day). They were evaluated at three, six, and 12 months to evaluate long-term spasm control.


The total number of infants treated was 97 (48 prednisolone; 49 ACTH). All completed the treatment course. Eighty-five, 82, and 76 children were available for follow-up at three, six, and 12 months. Number lost to follow-up at each interval was not statistically different. Likelihood of spasm freedom at three months was significantly higher for prednisolone (64.6%) than for ACTH (38.8%) ( P = 0.01; odds ratio = 2.9; 95% confidence interval = 1.3 to 6.6). At six months ( P = 0.19) and twelve months ( P = 0.13), the control of spasms was not statistically different, although a trend in favor of prednisolone was documented at both these time points (58.3% versus 44.9% for ACTH at six months and 56.2% versus 40.8% with ACTH at 12 months). After initial remission by day 14 (n = 46), the likelihood of a relapse within the next 12 months was not statistically different between the two treatment groups ( P = 0.1).


Control of spasms at three months was significantly better if initially treated with prednisolone. Control of spasms at six and 12 months was not significantly different despite a trend favoring prednisolone. Risk of relapse following initial remission was similar in the two groups.

Wanigasinghe J, Arambepola C, Sri Ranganathan S, Sumanasena S, Attanapola G. Randomized, Single-Blind, Parallel Clinical Trial on Efficacy of Oral Prednisolone Versus Intramuscular Corticotropin on Immediate and Continued Spasm Control in West Syndrome. Pediatr Neurol. 2015 Sep;53(3):193-9.

A single-center, single-blind, parallel-group, randomized clinical trial was performed to test the null hypothesis that adrenocorticotropic hormone is not superior to high-dose prednisolone for treatment of newly diagnosed West syndrome.
Newly diagnosed infants with West syndrome were randomized to receive 14 days of oral prednisolone (40-60 mg/day) or a synthetically prepared intramuscular long-acting adrenocorticotropic hormone (40-60 IU/every other day [0.5-0.75 mg]) according to the United Kingdom Infantile Spasm Study protocol. They were blindly evaluated for infantile spasm remission by day 14, electroclinical remission (spasm cessation + resolution of hypsarrhythmia on a 30-minute electroencephalograph) by day 14 and continued spasm freedom for 28 days.
Ninety-seven patients were enrolled in the study, with 48 of them receiving prednisolone and 49 receiving ACTH. There was no significant difference in the baseline characteristics or risk factors for the two treatment groups. By day 14, cessation of infantile spasms occurred in 28/48 (58.3%) infants on prednisolone compared with only 18/49 (36.7%) infants given adrenocorticotropic hormone (P = 0.03) and electroclinical remission in 21 on prednisolone compared with nine on adrenocorticotropic hormone (P = 0.007). Sustained spasm control for 28 consecutive days following electroclinical remission occurred in 15 children on prednisolone compared with six on adrenocorticotropic hormone (P = 0.008). The total number of days required for spasm cessation was significantly less in those treated with prednisolone (3.85 days ± 2.4) compared with adrenocorticotropic hormone (8.65 days ± 3.7) (P = 0.001). Among patients who did not achieve remission, there was a non-significant trend toward greater quantitative reduction of spasms with prednisolone than with adrenocorticotropic hormone (P = 0.079).
Synthetic adrenocorticotropic hormone of 40-60 IU/every other day did not yield superior rates of electroencephalographic or clinical remission when compared with prednisolone of 40-60 mg/day. Significantly, more patients achieved electroclinical remission when treated with prednisolone than with adrenocorticotropic hormone.

Wanigasinghe J, Arambepola C, Sri Ranganathan S, Sumanasena S, Muhandiram EC. The efficacy of moderate-to-high dose oral prednisolone versus low-to-moderate dose intramuscular corticotropin for improvement of hypsarrhythmia in West syndrome: a randomized, single-blind, parallel clinical trial. Pediatr Neurol. 2014 Jul;51(1):24-30.

The role of therapy on improvement of hypsarrhythmia has not been systematically assessed. This study was performed to assess the efficacy of oral prednisolone and intramuscular adrenocorticotrophin hormone in improving hypsarrhythmia in West syndrome.
Children (2 months-2 years), with previously untreated West syndrome, were randomized to receive 40-60 IU every other day of intramuscular adrenocorticotrophin hormone or 40-60 mg/day of oral prednisolone for 14 days. Children with tuberous sclerosis were excluded. Improvement of hypsarrhythmia was assessed blindly using a hypsarrhythmia severity scale before and after completion of therapy. Adverse effects were assessed on day 14 using symptom diary. (Clinical trial registry identifier: SLCTR/2010/010.)
From 92 newly diagnosed West syndrome infants, 48 were randomized to receive prednisolone and 44 to receive adrenocorticotrophin hormone. Eighty infants completed the posttreatment evaluation according to specifications. The hypsarrhythmia severity score, significantly improved with hormonal therapy for 2 weeks (10.45 ± 2.65 vs 3.45 ± 2.67); P < 0.01. When individual treatment arms were compared using mean differences in the improvement of scores, improvement in prednisolone arm (7.95 ± 2.76) was significantly greater than that in the adrenocorticotrophin hormone arm (6.00 ± 2.61); P < 0.01. Both forms of therapy were tolerated well. Frequent crying, irritability, weight gain, increased appetite, and abdominal distension were more common (but not statistically significant) with prednisolone.
Hypsarrhythmia severity score improved significantly with both hormonal therapies, but this improvement was significantly better with oral prednisolone than intramuscular adrenocorticotrophin hormone. This is the first ever documentation of a superior therapeutic role of oral steroids in West syndrome.

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