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J Rheumatol. 1998 Oct;25(10):1995-2002.

Intravenous corticosteroids: adverse reactions are more variable than expected in children.

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Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL, USA.



To determine the frequency and severity of adverse reactions associated with high dose intermittent intravenous corticosteroids (IVCS) in children with rheumatic disease.


Prospective documentation of adverse reactions associated with IVCS given to 213 pediatric rheumatology patients over a 4 year period.


Forty-six of the 213 children (22%) reported an adverse reaction. The 46 patients received 2622 doses of IVCS. Twenty-one patients (10% of all patients studied) had behavioral changes, including altered mood (14), hyperactivity (4), psychosis (2), disorientation (1), and sleep disturbances (3). Nonbehavioral adverse reactions included headache (5.2%), abdominal complaints (4.7%), pruritus (4.2%), vomiting (3.8%), hives (2.3%), hypertension (2.3%), bone pain (1.5%), dizziness (1.5%), fatigue (1%), lethargy (1%), hypotension (1%), tachycardia (1%), hyperglycemia (1%), fracture (1%), tremor (0.5%), anaphylaxis (0.5%), ulcer (0.5%), and "gray appearance" (0.5%). Using chi-squared analysis, there were no statistical differences in ethnicity (p = 0.54) or diagnosis (p = 0.46) between patient groups, with or without adverse reactions. There was a significant statistical association between history of drug induced cutaneous reaction and adverse reactions to IVCS (p < 0.01).


IVCS are associated with a spectrum of adverse reactions in children with rheumatic disease, of which volatile behavior is the most frequent. Children with a history of drug induced cutaneous reaction are more likely to have an adverse reaction to IVCS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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