Research: Steroids and Bloodclots

Kalanie et al. Venous thrombosis in multiple sclerosis patients after high-dose intravenous methylprednisolone: the preventive effect of enoxaparin.Thrombosis;2011:785459 [Epub].

Aim. This study was designed to examine the possible role of high-dose intravenous methylprednisolone (IVMP) in the development of venous thrombosis (VT). The cerebral one anecdotally had been reported in patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) in acute attacks and the possible preventive role of enoxaparin.

Material and Methods. From a pool of 520 patients, 388 patients with definite RRMS who fulfilled entry characteristics were selected and randomly received either a 5-day course of daily 1 gr IVMP or the aforementioned plus 5 days of daily subcutaneous 40 units of enoxaparin according to a predefined protocol.

Results. Mean age, gender ratio, mean relapse rate, and EDSS were similar in both groups of patients (P less than 0.05). Finally, 366 patients remained in the study. Of 188 patients treated with IVMP with 855 relapses, 5 developed VT (0.37% per patient per year and 0.58% per each course of IVMP) within 3 to 15 days of starting therapy. None of the 178 patients who experienced 809 relapses who received IVMP plus enoxaparin developed such complications.

Conclusion. The study implies that high-dose IVMP in MS exacerbation may increase the risk of VT and prophylactic anticoagulant treatment in this setting is warranted.
Although you should be aware of risk of thrombosis following high dose steroid treatment, early detection and prompt treatment are more realistic than prophylactic enoxiparin for everyone. For people with MS and with a history of thrombosis or at high risk (see previous post on DVT) it should be considered.

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