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Br J Ophthalmol. 2011 Aug;95(8):1068-71. doi: 10.1136/bjo.2010.195552. Epub 2011 Feb 24.

Treatment of severe idiopathic orbital inflammation with intravenous methylprednisolone.

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University Medical Center Utrecht, Department of Ophthalmology, E03.136 Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands.



Prednisone pulse therapy is used to treat active non-infectious orbital inflammatory disease to attain faster clinical improvement and to shorten the duration of prednisone treatment. This study addresses the use of intravenous methylprednisolone (IVMP) pulse therapy, in addition to oral prednisone (OP), in the treatment of severe idiopathic orbital inflammation (IOI).


This was a multicentre retrospective cohort study. Patients with severe IOI treated with IVMP pulse and OP therapy (IVMP+OP) were compared with patients with IOI who were treated only with OP. Main outcome measures were duration of prednisone treatment, symptom-free outcome and complications.


Between 2000 and 2007, 12 patients with severe IOI were treated with IVMP+OP and 15 patients were treated with OP only. The median treatment duration was 160 (range 34-680) days in the IVMP+OP group and 110 (range 27-730) days in the OP-only group. In patients who had severe IOI, 73% in the IVMP+OP group and 87% in the OP-only group were symptom-free after treatment. No patients developed complications related to prednisone therapy.


In our study there was no advantage of treating patients with severe IOI with IVMP+OP in terms of shortened treatment duration, lower cumulative dose or decrease in persistent symptoms. We suggest that the indication of IVMP in the treatment of severe IOI is limited to speeding symptom relief and recovery from optic nerve dysfunction.

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