Objective: To use juvenile dermatomyositis (DM) survey data and expert opinion to develop a small number of consensus treatment protocols, which reflect current initial treatment of moderately severe juvenile DM.
Methods: A consensus meeting was held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on December 1-2, 2007. Nominal group technique was used to achieve consensus on treatment protocols, which represented typical management of moderately severe juvenile DM. Consensus was also reached as to which patients these protocols would be applicable (inclusion and exclusion criteria), which initial investigations should be done prior to initiating one of these protocols, which data should be collected to evaluate these protocols, and the concomitant interventions required or recommended.
Results: Three protocols that described the first 2 months of treatment were developed. All protocols included corticosteroids and methotrexate. One protocol also included intravenous gamma globulin. Consensus was achieved for all issues that were addressed by conference participants, although there were some areas of controversy.
Conclusion: Despite considerable variation in clinical practice, it is possible to achieve consensus on the initial treatment of juvenile DM. Once these protocols are extended beyond 2 months, these protocols will be available for clinical use. By using methods that account for differences between patients (confounding by indication), the comparative effectiveness of the protocols will be evaluated. In the future, the goal will be to identify the optimal treatment of moderately severe juvenile DM.