Objective: To compare the range of medical and surgical therapies for children with PFAPA syndrome.
Methods: A literature search was performed using Medline, Embase, Ovid and Cochrane databases for studies between 1987 and 2010 that compared PFAPA treatment in children (surgical versus medical). Random-effect meta-analytical techniques were conducted for the outcome measures.
Results: The use of antibiotics and cimetidine in PFAPA syndrome are ineffective. However, there is evidence that the use of steroids is effective in the resolution of symptoms. Tonsillectomy (+/- adenoidectomy) as a treatment of PFAPA was found to be an effective intervention for resolution of symptoms (P<0.00001). Meta-analysis of surgery versus cimetidine and surgery versus antibiotics demonstrated that surgery is a significantly more effective treatment for PFAPA syndrome. A comparison of treatment with steroids or surgery did not show any statistically significant difference, confirming the effectiveness of both therapies for the resolution of PFAPA syndrome (P=0.83).
Conclusions: The most effective non-surgical therapy is corticosteroids. However, they do not prevent future fever cycles. The results of this meta-analysis showed that tonsillectomy (+/- adenoidectomy) is the most effective intervention for long-term resolution of PFAPA syndrome symptoms.
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