New protocol for steroid weaning tested in post-kidney transplant pediatric patientsLong-term steroid therapy is usually administered after a kidney transplant to prevent the body from rejecting the newly transferred organ. However, medical practitioners have been facing a dilemma over the use of steroid therapy in children who underwent kidney transplants.

Steroid use, especially in long-term cases, produces significant side effects in children like stunted growth, obesity, diabetes, acne, mood changes, insulin resistance and the classic “moon face” appearance of children on steroids.

These effects, however, can have a great impact since children on steroids are having a hard time fitting in with their peers due to their different appearance.

A research team from Helen De Vos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, tested a new steroid protocol where children were rapidly weaned off steroids. Out of the 19 patients who underwent the new program from 2005 to 2008, 17 responded well to the new protocol.

The other two had a recurrence of their primary diseases; therefore, their weaning period was modified into a discontinuing pattern.

According to the senior author of the study, Dr. Timothy Bunchman, division chief of nephrology and transplantation at the hospital, the negative effects of steroids in children prompted them to look for an alternative therapy. Dr. Bunchman further added that this shorter protocol enabled adolescents to become more compliant with their medical regimen due to its simplicity.

Form’s Health and Fitness:

Long-term steroid use – traditionally used indefinitely as anti-rejection therapy — is not needed for children who have undergone a kidney transplant, according to findings published in the August issue of Pediatric Transplantation.