A Clinical Response–Adjusted Steroid Treatment Protocol for Children With Newly Diagnosed Idiopathic Nephrotic Syndrome

Elena Zion, Yael Borovitz, Hadas Alfandary, Orly Haskin, Shelly Levi, Shoval Shoham, Miriam Davidovits, Amit Dagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale & Objective: Prednisone protocols for children with idiopathic nephrotic syndrome (INS) are generally similar in dose and duration, despite wide variations in time to response. We assessed the feasibility of a novel clinical treatment protocol characterized by a shorter duration and lower cumulative dose for children with early clinical response. Study Design: Nonrandomized pilot clinical trial. Setting & Participants: The study population included 59 children with newly diagnosed INS treated between 2014 and 2019 who responded to treatment within 8 days. Intervention: The intervention group (n = 27) was treated with a response-adjusted protocol during which responders received an 8-week course of tapering doses of prednisone. The usual care group (n =32) was treated with the standard protocol (prednisone, 60 mg/m2/24 hours for 6 weeks, followed by 40 mg/m2/48 hours for 4 weeks, followed by a slow taper for a total of 24 weeks). Outcome: Consent rate, cumulative prednisone dose, the development of frequently relapsing or steroid-dependent nephrotic syndrome (FRNS or SDNS, respectively), relapses per year, treatment with steroid-sparing therapies, and adverse effects of steroid therapy over 3 years of follow-up observation. Results: The consent rate was 88%. The mean cumulative steroid dose for the initial treatment was 70 mg/kg and 141 mg/kg (P < 0.001) in the intervention and usual care groups, respectively. None of the patients in the intervention group relapsed while on faster steroid taper down. The occurrence of FRNS and SDNS in the intervention group was not statistically different than in the usual care group, hazard ratios were 0.80 (95% CI, 0.37-1.73) and 0.61 (95% CI, 0.30-1.27), respectively. The proportions of relapse-free patients were similar (P = 0.5), and adverse steroid events did not differ between the groups. Limitations: Lack of randomization and small sample size. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate the feasibility of a shortened duration of steroid dosing for INS when patients demonstrate an initial clinical response to treatment. A larger study is needed to characterize the relative efficacy and toxicity of this novel treatment regimen. Funding: This study received no funding. Trial Registration: Registered at ClinicalTrials.gov with study number NCTO2649413.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-482.e1
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Children
  • cumulative dose
  • feasibility
  • glomerular disease
  • individualized treatment
  • nephrotic syndrome
  • pediatric
  • pilot study
  • prednisone
  • protocol
  • relapse
  • response-adjusted
  • steroid therapy


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