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Rev Epidemiol Sante Publique. 2009 Apr;57(2):93-7. doi: 10.1016/j.respe.2008.12.009. Epub 2009 Mar 19.

[General practitioners' perception of the impact of corticosteroid-induced adverse events].

[Article in French]

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Service de médecine interne horloge 2, hôpital Saint-Antoine, AP-HP, 184, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine, 75012 Paris, France.



General practitioners' perception of the discomfort their patients experience because of corticosteroid-induced adverse events is unknown.


An observational epidemiological study was conducted in September 2007. Eight hundred and sixty general practitioners belonging to the réseau Sentinelles were asked to complete an electronical questionnaire. The questionnaire aimed to assess their perception of discomfort induced by adverse events induced by a long-term (i.e.,>or=3 months) corticosteroid therapy among their patients. Results were compared with the declaration made by 115 long-term corticosteroid treated patients followed in an internal medicine department.


Two hundred and ninety-three general practitioners responded to the questionnaire (response rate: 34%). They were predominantly male (87%). Forty-eight percent of them reported 400 to 600 monthly visits. The mean length of corticosteroid therapy for patients was 44+/-38 months and the mean daily dosage was 15+/-14 mg. They suffered mainly from lupus erythematosus (33%) or giant cell arteritis (15%). The adverse events considered to be the most disturbing by patients were lipodystrophy (25%), followed by weight gain (18%) and neuropsychiatric complaints (16%). Physicians widely overestimated the discomfort caused by weight gain cited as the most disturbing adverse event by 59% of them and underestimated that induced by mood disorders cited as the most disturbing by only 3% of them.


The discomfort caused by corticosteroid-induced neuropsychiatric adverse events are underestimated by general practitioners.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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