Short course of systemic corticosteroids in sinonasal polyposis: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial with evaluation of outcome measures

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006 Jul;118(1):128-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2006.03.012. Epub 2006 May 19.


Background: Topical and systemic corticosteroids are the first choice in medical treatments for sinonasal polyposis, but surprisingly, there is no high-level evidence for the efficacy of oral corticosteroids.

Objective: The aim of this study was to establish the efficacy of a short course of oral prednisolone in ameliorating the symptoms of sinonasal polyposis, as well as reducing mucosal inflammation assessed by means of nasendoscopy and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A secondary aim was to evaluate the relationship between outcome measures.

Methods: Subjects with symptomatic endoscopically diagnosed sinonasal polyposis received 50 mg of prednisolone daily for 14 days or placebo. Outcome was quantified by using the modified 31-item Rhinosinusitis Outcome Measure questionnaire, physician's assessment, nasendoscopy with photography, and MRI.

Results: There were 20 subjects in each treatment group. Only the prednisolone-treated group showed significant improvement in nasal symptoms (P < .001). The Rhinosinusitis Outcome Measure score improved in both groups, but the prednisolone-treated group had significantly greater improvement than the placebo group (P < .001). Objectively, there was significant reduction in polyp size, as noted with nasendoscopy (P < .001) and MRI (P < .001), only in the prednisolone-treated group. The outcome measures correlated with each other; the highest level of correlation was between the objective measures of nasendoscopy and MRI (R(2) = 0.76, P < .001). There were no significant adverse events.

Conclusion: This trial clearly establishes clinically significant improvement in the symptoms and pathology of sinonasal polyposis with a short course of systemic corticosteroids. MRI scanning and quantitative nasendoscopic photography are objective and valid tools for assessing the outcome of treatment in this condition.

Clinical implications: A 14-day course of 50 mg of prednisolone is safe and effective therapy for symptomatic nasal polyposis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Polyps / drug therapy*
  • Nasal Polyps / pathology
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Prednisolone / adverse effects
  • Prednisolone / therapeutic use*


  • Prednisolone