A Phase II randomized controlled trial of oral prednisolone in early diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis (PRedSS)

Griffiths-Jones, Deborah J and Garcia, Yvonne Sylvestre and Ryder, W David and Pauling, John D and Hall, Frances and Lanyon, Peter and Bhat, Smita and Douglas, Karen and Gunawardena, Harsha and Akil, Mohammed and Anderson, Marina and Griffiths, Bridget and Del Galdo, Francesco and Youssef, Hazem and Madhok, Rajan and Arthurs, Barbara and Buch, Maya and Fligelstone, Kim and Zubair, Mohammed and Mason, Justin C and Denton, Christopher P and Herrick, Ariane L (2023) A Phase II randomized controlled trial of oral prednisolone in early diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis (PRedSS). Rheumatology, 62 (9). pp. 3133-3138. ISSN 1462-0324

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Objectives Although the painful and disabling features of early diffuse cutaneous SSc (dcSSc) have an inflammatory basis and could respond to corticosteroids, corticosteroids are a risk factor for scleroderma renal crisis. Whether or not they should be prescribed is therefore highly contentious. Our aim was to examine safety and efficacy of moderate-dose prednisolone in early dcSSc. Methods PRedSS set out as a Phase II, multicentre, double-blind randomized controlled trial, converted to open-label during the Covid-19 pandemic. Patients were randomized to receive either prednisolone (∼0.3 mg/kg) or matching placebo (or no treatment during open-label) for 6 months. Co-primary endpoints were the HAQ Disability Index (HAQ-DI) and modified Rodnan skin score (mRSS) at 3 months. Over 20 secondary endpoints included patient reported outcome measures reflecting pain, itch, fatigue, anxiety and depression, and helplessness. Target recruitment was 72 patients. Results Thirty-five patients were randomized (17 prednisolone, 18 placebo/control). The adjusted mean difference between treatment groups at 3 months in HAQ-DI score was −0.10 (97.5% CI: −0.29, 0.10), P = 0.254, and in mRSS −3.90 (97.5% CI: −8.83, 1.03), P = 0.070, both favouring prednisolone but not significantly. Patients in the prednisolone group experienced significantly less pain (P = 0.027), anxiety (P = 0.018) and helplessness (P = 0.040) than control patients at 3 months. There were no renal crises, but sample size was small. Conclusion PRedSS was terminated early primarily due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and so was underpowered. Therefore, interpretation must be cautious and results considered inconclusive, indicating the need for a further randomized trial. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov, https://clinicaltrials.gov, NCT03708718.

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02 Feb 2023 14:55
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30 Sep 2023 03:00