Effect of long-term low-dose prednisone on height velocity and disease activity in pediatric and adolescent patients with Crohn disease

Fernando A. Navarro*, Stephen B. Hanauer, Barbara S. Kirschner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To determine whether long-term low-dose prednisone (LTLDP) therapy has a decelerating effect on growth velocity and whether this therapy is effective in the maintenance of remission in the subgroup of pediatric patients with Crohn disease (CD) who had previously experienced flares on more than 1 occasion when prednisone was discontinued. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A retrospective chart review of patients was done. Our sample consisted of patients 6 to 17 years of age with CD who had received uninterrupted prednisone at an average daily dose of 0.1 to 0.4 mg·kg·day for at least 8 weeks. Their heights were plotted on sex-appropriate growth charts at 4 time points: 1 year before LTLDP, at therapy onset, at therapy discontinuation, and 1 year after therapy was discontinued. The height velocities (HVs) were compared with the normal HV established by Tanner. The disease activities of 2 groups were compared: LTLDP plus azathioprine/6-mercaptopurine (AZA/6-MP) and LTLDP alone. RESULTS: One hundred two patients were included. The mean age of our sample was 13.7 ± 2.7 years (standard deviation). The mean dose of prednisone dose was 0.18 ± 0.07 mg·kg·day), for a mean duration of therapy of 14.4 ± 7.2 months. Throughout the study, 78% of patients had normal HV. Growth deceleration was seen in 19% of patients with prior normal growth. Of this group, 31% had "catch-up" growth 1 year after prednisone was discontinued; the remaining 69% did not. Catch-up growth was more likely in patients who had reached the expected age peak HV, which is defined as 12.5 years for girls and 13.5 years for boys (P = 0.04). In addition, 6 patients reached the peak HV after LTLDP discontinuation; 13 did not. We found no difference in the maintenance of remission rate between the compared groups. CONCLUSIONS: A minority of our study population had growth deceleration. Age was an important factor for subsequent catch-up growth. LTLDP efficacy to maintain remission was not different from that of LTLDP plus AZA/6-MP; differences in concomitant therapies (eg, antibiotics, infliximab) between the 2 groups were not statistically significant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-318
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007


  • Disease activity
  • Growth
  • Prednisone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Gastroenterology


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