Alternate-day prednisone reduces morbidity and improves pulmonary function in cystic fibrosis

Lancet. 1985 Sep 28;2(8457):686-8. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(85)92929-0.


A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the effects of alternate-day prednisone therapy on morbidity and progression of lung disease in cystic fibrosis (CF). At baseline the patients (aged 1-12 years) had mild to moderate lung disease, and the prednisone group did not differ significantly from the placebo group for any values measured. After 4 years, the prednisone-treated group had significant advantages over the placebo group for height, weight, vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 s, peak flow rate, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and serum IgG. The prednisone-treated group required 9 admissions to hospital for CF-related pulmonary disease compared with 35 for the placebo group. There were no steroid-induced side-effects. To rule out bias in case selection, 69 CF clinic patients comparable in age and clinical status but not included in the study were compared with the placebo group at 4 years; no significant differences between the groups were found.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / immunology
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Infant
  • Prednisone / administration & dosage*
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Pulmonary Ventilation
  • Random Allocation
  • Respiration*
  • Vital Capacity


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Prednisone