Author(s): Chibane S, FeldmanBillard S, Rossignol I, Kassaei R, MihoubiMantout F,
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Abstract AIM: To study the immediate tolerance of high-dose intravenous pulse steroids. PATIENTS ET METHOD: Prospective study over a six months period in 146 consecutive patients treated by three pulses of 250, 500 or 1000 mg/d methylprednisolone for various eye diseases. Daily monitoring including: standardized questionnaire, electrocardiogram, automated blood pressure measurements, fasting blood glucose and kaliemia. RESULTS: One hundred and twenty-nine patients (88,4\%) had one ore more side effect(s), mainly transient and of mild intensity, the first one being neuropsychological disturbances (insomnia in half the patients). Myocardial ischemia was observed in three patients (2,1\%) with known coronary insufficiency or high cardiovascular risk, blood pressure levels of at least 180/110 mmHg were recorded in five hypertensive patients (3,4\%), bradycardia occurred in 14 patients (9,7\%), symptomatic in one. After the first pulse, we observed a mean 54+/-30\% increase of fasting glucose (P <0,001), followed during the next pulses by a spontaneous slow return toward baseline values in non diabetic patients, contrasting with additional hyperglycemic effects in diabetics, and a mean 5,4+/-10,3\% increase of kaliemia (P <0,001) staying unchanged during the next pulses, and suggesting a rapid potassium efflux from the cell as a direct effect of methylprednisolone. CONCLUSION: Severe complications of pulse methylprednisolone, mainly cardiovascular, are strongly related to underlying comorbidities. Glucose monitoring is necessary only in diabetic patients. Potassium movements suggest a risk of hypokalicystia, of potential danger in patients with cardiac disease. A close clinical, blood pressure and electrocardiographic monitoring is needed during the whole treatment.
This article was published in Rev Med Interne
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology