Efficacy of orally administered prednisolone versus partial endodontic treatment on pain reduction in emergency care of acute irreversible pulpitis of mandibular molars: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Trials. 2017 Mar 28;18(1):141. doi: 10.1186/s13063-017-1883-x.


Background: Irreversible pulpitis is a highly painful inflammatory condition of the dental pulp which represents a common dental emergency. Recommended care is partial endodontic treatment. The dental literature reports major difficulties in achieving adequate analgesia to perform this emergency treatment, especially in the case of mandibular molars. In current practice, short-course, orally administered corticotherapy is used for the management of oral pain of inflammatory origin. The efficacy of intraosseous local steroid injections for irreversible pulpitis in mandibular molars has already been demonstrated but resulted in local comorbidities. Oral administration of short-course prednisolone is simple and safe but its efficacy to manage pain caused by irreversible pulpitis has not yet been demonstrated. This trial aims to evaluate the noninferiority of short-course, orally administered corticotherapy versus partial endodontic treatment for the emergency care of irreversible pulpitis in mandibular molars.

Methods/design: This study is a noninferiority, open-label, randomized controlled clinical trial conducted at the Bordeaux University Hospital. One hundred and twenty subjects will be randomized in two 1:1 parallel arms: the intervention arm will receive one oral dose of prednisolone (1 mg/kg) during the emergency visit, followed by one morning dose each day for 3 days and the reference arm will receive partial endodontic treatment. Both groups will receive planned complete endodontic treatment 72 h after enrollment. The primary outcome is the proportion of patients with pain intensity below 5 on a Numeric Scale 24 h after the emergency visit. Secondary outcomes include comfort during care, the number of injected anesthetic cartridges when performing complete endodontic treatment, the number of antalgic drugs and the number of patients coming back for consultation after 72 h.

Discussion: This randomized trial will assess the ability of short-term corticotherapy to reduce pain in irreversible pulpitis as a simple and rapid alternative to partial endodontic treatment and to enable planning of endodontic treatment in optimal analgesic conditions.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier: NCT02629042 . Registered on 7 December 2015. (Version n°1.1 28 July 2015).

Keywords: Analgesia; Corticosteroids; Dental emergency; Irreversible pulpitis; Mandibular molars; Pain management; Pulpotomy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Dental Service, Hospital*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Female
  • France
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molar / innervation*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prednisolone / administration & dosage*
  • Prednisolone / adverse effects
  • Pulpitis / diagnosis
  • Pulpitis / physiopathology
  • Pulpitis / therapy*
  • Pulpotomy* / adverse effects
  • Research Design
  • Time Factors
  • Toothache / diagnosis
  • Toothache / physiopathology
  • Toothache / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Prednisolone

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02629042