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Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 Feb;6(2):165-73. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2007.11.008.

Comparison of oral prednisone and topical fluticasone in the treatment of eosinophilic esophagitis: a randomized trial in children.

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Indiana University School of Medicine, James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202, USA.



Although eosinophilic esophagitis is recognized increasingly, outcome data guiding therapy are limited. We conducted a prospective randomized trial comparing oral prednisone (P) and swallowed fluticasone (F) for histologic and clinical response.


Patients were randomized to receive P or F for 4 weeks, followed by an 8-week weaning protocol. Esophageal histology was evaluated at baseline and after 4 weeks of therapy. Clinical assessments were performed at weeks 0, 4, 12, 18, and 24.


Eighty patients with eosinophilic esophagitis were enrolled: 40 in the P arm and 40 in the F arm. Histologic improvement was seen in 30 of 32 P and 34 of 36 F patients, with a greater degree of histologic improvement in the P group. All P and 35 of 36 F patients were free of presenting symptom(s) at week 4. Symptom relapse was seen in 45% of patients by week 24. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed no difference between P and F with regard to relapse rate (P = .7399). No significant difference in time to relapse was found between groups (P = .2529). Systemic adverse effects were noted in 40% of the P arm, whereas esophageal candidal overgrowth was seen in 15% of the F arm.


Systemic and topical corticosteroids were effective in achieving initial histologic and clinical improvement. P resulted in a greater degree of histologic improvement, without evidence of an associated clinical advantage over F in terms of symptom resolution, relapse rates, or time to relapse. Symptom relapse was common to both groups upon therapy discontinuation, highlighting the need for maintenance treatment protocols.

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