Background: In pediatric patients with steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome, recent trials have revealed that a 2-month, short-term steroid regimen is not inferior to an extended steroid course. However, the optimal duration of initial steroid therapy for adult steroid-sensitive minimal change disease (MCD) remains unclear. Objectives: The aim of present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a 2-month, short-term steroid regimen in the treatment of adult steroid-sensitive MCD patients. Method: This was a prospective observational study. Adult patients with steroid-sensitive MCD (n = 35) who were initiated on a short-term steroid regimen between January 2015 and June 2016 were included. The details of the regimen are as follows: (1) prednisolone was administered at an initial dose of 0.8-1.0 mg/kg/day and continued for 4-6 weeks and (2) dosage was reduced to 0.5-0.6 mg/kg/alternate day and continued for 4 weeks. Control patients (n = 140), who were treated using conventional steroid administration, were selected from our previous adult MCD cohort. All patients fulfilled the following criteria: biopsy-proven MCD, age ≥20 years, first episode of nephrotic syndrome, and attainment of complete remission within 4 weeks. The following parameters of patients who received short-term treatment regimen and control patients were compared: any relapse and frequent relapse, adverse events caused by steroid treatment and cumulative steroid dose. Results: Throughout the observation period (median: 17.3 months), 24 (68.6%) patients in the short-term group developed at least one relapse. The short-term regimen showed earlier occurrence of any relapse than the conventional regimen (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 2.45; 95% CI 1.51-3.97; p < 0.001), but there was no difference in frequent relapse (aHR 1.31; 95% CI 0.43-3.99; p = 0.63). None of the patients showed any symptoms of adrenal insufficiency after discontinuation of corticosteroids. The cumulative steroid dose during the observational period was significantly lower in the short-term group than in the conventional group. Conclusions: The short-term steroid regimen may represent an effective treatment option that ensures lower steroid exposure when treating adult steroid-sensitive MCD patients.
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