Henoch-Schönlein purpura in children: limited benefit of corticosteroids.
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QUESTION: A child recently presented to my office with lower limb petechiae, arthralgia, and abdominal pain characteristic of Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP). Will systemic corticosteroids help relieve these symptoms and prevent potential HSP complications such as intussusception and nephritis? ANSWER: Henoch-Schönlein purpura is a common and self-limiting disease in children. Current evidence does not support universal treatment of HSP with corticosteroids. Recent trials and meta-analyses found that corticosteroids do not prevent the onset of renal disease or abdominal complications. However, corticosteroids are effective as treatment of abdominal pain, arthralgia, and purpura. Clinicians are advised to use their discretion in choosing which patients might benefit most from oral corticosteroid treatment.