Daily steroids form a major part of anti-rejection medications for kidney transplant recipients. It is well known that long-term steroid use has significant side effects. In pediatric patients, these effects are associated with bone disease, obesity and slow growth rate. Therefore, much effort has been made toward decreasing, withdrawing or completely avoiding the use of steroids in clinical organ transplantation.
A new study in Clinical Transplantation explored a combination of steroid-free medications that resulted in excellent patient outcomes and a very low rejection rate.
A review of 301 patients that were given steroid-free medications at the Ohio State University Medical Center found that only 4.9 percent experienced rejection. In a second review, studying 502 patients who received typical, steroidal medications at the same institution, the rejection rate rose to 9.4 percent.
'The idea behind the research presented is to evaluate the feasibility of omitting the prescription of steroid medications to kidney transplant recipients,' says Amer Rajab, M.D., Ph. D. and lead author of the study. 'We conclude that a significantly lower incidence of rejection can be achieved using steroid free maintenance.'