Impact of steroids and steroid-sparing agents on quality of life in children with nephrotic syndrome
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BACKGROUND: Steroids and/or steroid-sparing medications are commonly used for nephrotic syndrome treatment; however, the impact of these medications on health-related quality of life over time is not well described. METHODS: Longitudinal cohort is up to 5 years where children were assessed with baseline and annual Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory questionnaire. A mixed-effects linear regression determined differences in scores among children receiving steroids and/or steroid-sparing agents for at least 30 days compared with those not on medication at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months prior to assessment. RESULTS: Among 295 children, 64% were male, with a median age of 3.7 (interquartile range [IQR], 2.7, 5.9) years at diagnosis, and comprised 25% Europeans, 40% South Asians, and 8% East/Southeast Asians. Adjusted HRQOL scores were reduced among children taking steroids and steroid-sparing agents among 705 HRQOL measures (median 2 [IQR, 1, 3] per child). Compared to children without medication, steroid and steroid-sparing agent use up to 12 months prior to assessment were associated with an overall HRQOL drop of 3.17 (95% confidence interval [CI], - 5.25, - 1.08) and 3.18 (95% CI, - 5.24, - 1.12), respectively, after adjustment. Functioning domain scores were reduced by 4.41 points (95% CI, - 6.57, - 2.25) in children on steroids, whereas fatigue domain scores were reduced by 5.47 points (95% CI, - 9.28, - 1.67) in children on steroid-sparing agents after adjustment. CONCLUSIONS: HRQOL is consistently decreased in children receiving steroids and steroid-sparing agents, with differential effects on functioning and fatigue. Counseling families on possible effects of prolonged treatment periods is important in the management of childhood nephrotic syndrome.
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