Background: Treatment of acute Kawasaki disease with intravenous immune globulin and aspirin reduces the risk of coronary-artery abnormalities and systemic inflammation, but despite intravenous immune globulin therapy, coronary-artery abnormalities develop in some children. Studies have suggested that primary corticosteroid therapy might be beneficial and that adverse events are infrequent with short-term use.
Methods: We conducted a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine whether the addition of intravenous methylprednisolone to conventional primary therapy for Kawasaki disease reduces the risk of coronary-artery abnormalities. Patients with 10 or fewer days of fever were randomly assigned to receive intravenous methylprednisolone, 30 mg per kilogram of body weight (101 patients), or placebo (98 patients). All patients then received conventional therapy with intravenous immune globulin, 2 g per kilogram, as well as aspirin, 80 to 100 mg per kilogram per day until they were afebrile for 48 hours and 3 to 5 mg per kilogram per day thereafter.
Results: At week 1 and week 5 after randomization, patients in the two study groups had similar coronary dimensions, expressed as z scores adjusted for body-surface area, absolute dimensions, and changes in dimensions. As compared with patients receiving placebo, patients receiving intravenous methylprednisolone had a somewhat shorter initial period of hospitalization (P=0.05) and, at week 1, a lower erythrocyte sedimentation rate (P=0.02) and a tendency toward a lower C-reactive protein level (P=0.07). However, the two groups had similar numbers of days spent in the hospital, numbers of days of fever, rates of retreatment with intravenous immune globulin, and numbers of adverse events.
Conclusions: Our data do not provide support for the addition of a single pulsed dose of intravenous methylprednisolone to conventional intravenous immune globulin therapy for the routine primary treatment of children with Kawasaki disease. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00132080 [ClinicalTrials.gov].)
Copyright 2007 Massachusetts Medical Society.