Why do you prescribe methylprednisolone for acute spinal cord injury? A Canadian perspective and a position statement

Can J Neurol Sci. 2002 Aug;29(3):236-9. doi: 10.1017/s0317167100002006.


Objective: To determine the practice patterns for methylprednisolone administration for patients with acute spinal cord injury (SCI) within the spinal surgery community across Canada, and the reasons behind these patterns.

Methods: Canadian neurological and orthopedic spine surgeons were surveyed at their respective annual meetings with a questionnaire asking seven questions with respect to their practice standards.

Results: Sixty surgeons completed the survey representing approximately two-thirds of surgeons treating acute SCI within Canada. The NASCIS III dosing regimen is the most commonly prescribed steroid protocol. However, one-quarter of surgeons do not administer steroids at all. Of those who administer methylprednisolone, most do so because of peer pressure or out of fear of litigation.

Conclusions: The vast majority of spine surgeons in Canada either do not prescribe methylprednisolone for acute SCI, or do so for what might be considered the wrong reasons. These results demonstrate the need for an evidence-based practice guideline. The Canadian Spine Society and the Canadian Neurosurgical Society fully endorse the recommendations of the steroid task force (see preceding paper).

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Canada
  • Drug Prescriptions / standards*
  • Humans
  • Methylprednisolone / therapeutic use*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Methylprednisolone