To survey the use of CorticoSteroids in Multiple Sclerosis as recommended by United
Kingdom consultant Neurologists.
A postal questionnaire covering the use of CorticoSteroids for acute Multiple Sclerosis relapse and Chronic Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.
With regard to frequency of use, type of CorticoSteroid, and dosage regime was sent to all members of the Association of British Neurologists with a United Kingdom address.
Two hundred and twelve United Kingdom consultant Neurologists replied to the survey (74%
Eighty six per cent indicated that they prescribed CorticoSteroids in more than one quarter of acute Multiple Sclerosis relapses seen.
IntraVenous MethylPrednisolone was recommended at some time by 99% of consultant Neurologists, the most popular regime being 1g daily for 3 days (74%;154/ 208).
Over one half (53%; 109/206) never recommended a subsequent tapering course of Oral CorticoSteroids; of those that did, 25% (24/96) recommended a tapering course lasting more than 1 month.
Eighty eight per cent (1811206) of prescribers of IntraVenous MethylPrednisolone were able to offer the course as a day case on the ward; 7% (151206) at an outpatient clinic; and 5% (111206) at home.
Almost three quarters of Neurologists recommended Oral CorticoSteroids for some acute relapses, although the most popular response was for occasional use only (48%; 1011212).
Forty five per cent (961211) at least occasionally recommended Steroids for patients with Chronic Multiple Sclerosis not experiencing an acute relapse.
Although the vast majority of consultant Neurologists would prescribe IntraVenous MethylPrednisolone for acute Multiple Sclerosis relapse at some time, the use of CorticoSteroids for Multiple Sclerosis was otherwise variable.
There seemed to be little consensus about the use of Oral Steroids in acute relapse, the prescribing of a tapering course of Oral Steroids after IntraVenous MethylPrednisolone, or the utility of Steroids in Chronic Multiple Sclerosis.
Variability of prescribing recommendations probably reflects a lack of clear evidence in the face of a wide range of clinical situations, variable access, and timing of access to Neurologists in the acute phase of relapse.
And, pressure on Neurologists to treat in an otherwise "hopeless" situation. Large multicenterd trials are needed to consider these issues.