Steroid Treatment for Sickle Cell Pain Crisis

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
Baylor College of Medicine Identifier:
First received: December 8, 2005
Last updated: November 30, 2010
Last verified: November 2010

The painful episode is the most common problem experienced by children with sickle cell disease. Although various treatments are available during painful episodes, the medication most commonly given for pain is a pain medication such as morphine. Fluids are also used. Even with these treatments, many children still have severe pain that is difficult to control. In addition to pain medications, there are other medications that may be useful. Methylprednisolone (solumedrol) and prednisone are a group of medications called steroids that may be helpful for painful episodes. These medications are known to lower the amount of inflammation (this means swelling, tenderness, and soreness) in the body. Because this medication may help with your pain, you are being asked to be a part of this study. These types of medications are used in other illnesses such as asthma, especially during times when the illness has gotten worse.

The main purpose of this study is to see if the methylprednisolone and prednisone will lower the amount of pain and the length of hospital stay.

In addition to the pain medication you will normally receive, you will be assigned to one of 2 groups: 1) the experimental group with the active form of the medicine, or 2) a comparison group without the active form of the medicine. In either group, you will still receive all of the treatments you would normally receive for a painful episode, including pain medicines and fluids. You and your doctors will not know what group you will be assigned.

If you decide to be a part of the study the following will happen:

For the first 5 days, you will be asked to: 1) describe your current pain (0=no pain to 10=a lot of pain), worst pain (0=no pain to 10=a lot of pain), least pain (0=no pain to 10=a lot of pain), and the amount of pain relief (0=no relief to 10=complete relief); 2) describe any signs or symptoms you feel, including filling out a pain scale form each day; 3) and take the medicines for 5 days, either at home or when in the hospital. Thirty days after the study, a study researcher will call and will ask questions about your pain, any painful episodes, and any medications you had. If you are discharged home sooner than 5 days after the start of the study, research staff will call you to ask you these questions, remind you to fill out your pain forms, and remind you to take your medicine. If you are discharged home, you will be given pain scales to fill out each day at home.

Condition Intervention Phase
Sickle Cell Disease
Vaso-occlusive Crisis
Drug: Methylprednisolone plus prednisone taper
Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double-Blind
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Randomized Trial of High-dose Intravenous Methylprednisolone and Steroid Taper for Vaso-occlusive Crises in Sickle Cell Disease

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Baylor College of Medicine:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • The primary objective of this study is to determine whether the use of high-dose methylprednisolone followed by steroid taper decreases the duration of hospitalization and severity of pain in VOC of sickle cell disease.
  • Primary Hypothesis: The experimental group treated with high-dose methylprednisolone and steroid taper plus conventional therapy will have a lesser duration and and lower severity of pain in VOC than the control group.

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • 1) to determine whether this methylprednisolone regimen will decrease the number of inpatient admissions.
  • 2) to examine the number and type of complications and side effects (including infection, hypertension, and GI bleeding)
  • 3) to determine rate of recurrent episodes of pain within one month of treatment.
  • 4) to determine whether the amount of analgesic used will decrease during the hospitalization.

Estimated Enrollment: 80
Study Start Date: December 2005
Study Completion Date: June 2008
Primary Completion Date: June 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
  Show Detailed Description


Ages Eligible for Study:   8 Years and older
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

Sickle cell and acute pain Age 8 and up English or Spanish-speaking

Exclusion Criteria:

Fever greater than 101 Acute chest syndrome or pneumonia Other SS complications (sequestration, aplastic crisis) Other explanation for pain (chronic, AVN, surgical) History of GI bleeding, HTN, or hyperglycemia/DM

  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00263562

United States, Texas
Texas Childrens Hospital
Houston, Texas, United States, 77030
Sponsors and Collaborators
Baylor College of Medicine
Principal Investigator: Charles Macias, MD, MPH Baylor College of Medicine
  More Information

No publications provided Identifier: NCT00263562     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: H-17689 
Study First Received: December 8, 2005
Last Updated: November 30, 2010
Health Authority: United States: Institutional Review Board

Keywords provided by Baylor College of Medicine:
Sickle cell disease
vaso-occlusive crisis
steroid treatment

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Anemia, Sickle Cell
Anemia, Hemolytic
Anemia, Hemolytic, Congenital
Genetic Diseases, Inborn
Hematologic Diseases
Methylprednisolone Hemisuccinate
Methylprednisolone acetate
Prednisolone acetate
Prednisolone hemisuccinate
Prednisolone phosphate
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Antineoplastic Agents
Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
Autonomic Agents
Central Nervous System Agents
Gastrointestinal Agents
Hormones, Hormone Substitutes, and Hormone Antagonists
Neuroprotective Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents
Pharmacologic Actions
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Protective Agents
Therapeutic Uses processed this record on February 11, 2016