Table 1 Relevant papers
Author, date and countryPatient groupStudy type (level of evidence)OutcomesKey resultsStudy weaknesses
Rasmussen, 1976, USA32 Children with Stevens–Johnson syndrome. 17 were given 40–80 mg/m2 a day prednisolone or equivalent with supportive care. 15 were given the same supportive care onlyRetrospective controlled case seriesDuration of hospitalisationCase versus control: 21 versus 13 days (p<0.01). If those who suffered complications were removed: 15 versus 13 days (not significant)Small numbers, not randomised, no mention of duration of steroid therapy
ComplicationsControl group 0, steroid group 4 severe infections, 3 GI bleeds needing transfusion, 1 seizure, 1 Cushingoid face, 1 pleural effusion, 1 severe leucopenia
Kakourou T et al, 1997, Greece16 Children with Stevens–Johnson syndrome within 3 days of developing rash. 10 were given 4 mg/kg a day of methylprednisolone for 3–7 days and supportive therapy. 6 were given supportive therapy onlyProspective randomised controlled trialPeriod of feverSteroid versus control: 4.0 (SD 1.9) days versus 9.5 (SD 4.2) days (p = 0.01)No blinding
Period of acute eruptionSteroid versus control: 7.0 (SD 5.3) days versus 9.8 (SD 3) days (p = 0.08)Each group managed at different centres
ComplicationsControl 0, steroid group 3 minor skin superinfectionsSmall numbers
Wide confidence intervals
  • GI, gastrointestinal.