Two successive, 6-month, randomized, double-blind, controlled trials of prednisone showed that 0.75 mg/kg/d was the optimal dose to improve strength in boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). We attempted to maintain 93 boys on that dose for an additional 2 years. During the 3 years of observation, the decline in average muscle strength scores of all boys taking prednisone was 0.072 units/yr, as compared with an expected decline of 0.341 units/yr from natural history controls. The occurrence of side effects in some boys prevented maintenance of the full dose, which may have lessened the response. At the time of last visit, dosages ranged from 0.15 mg/kg to 0.75 mg/kg. In addition to maintaining their strength, several of the boys actually improved their performance in lifting kilogram weights and in some timed function tests. Treatment of DMD with prednisone significantly slows the progression of weakness and loss of function for at least 3 years.