We conducted a double blind controlled trial in 28 Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients with Deflazacort (DF), an oxazoline derivative of prednisolone which reduces its side-effects. Myometric muscle strength measurements, Scott Score and timed tests showed statistically significant improvement for the treated group (P less than 0.05). Side-effects after 9 months of treatment included mild cushingoid appearance in four patients (28%) and moderate in only one (7%), increased appetite in seven (50%), increased body hair in four (28%), irritability and hyperactivity in three (21%). Increased body weight was not prominent and was controlled with dietary measures. No patient had to be withdrawn from medication. More research and long-term follow-up are needed in order to establish the mechanism of improvement and the consequences of long-term steroid administration in DMD. In this regard DF appears as an alternative to prednisone preserving its benefits but with fewer side-effects.