Corticosteroids have been used to control MS relapses for decades. Data on the effectiveness of these medications in MS comes from four randomized, placebo-controlled studies of intravenous and oral methylprednisolone. Altogether, these studies included 74 people with MS who received corticosteroid treatment and 66 who received placebo. Corticosteroid treatment with methylprednisolone resulted in greater speed of recovery from exacerbation compared with placebo. However, treatment did not decrease the risk of future relapses or decrease the progression of disability.
Researchers also looked at how much patients were bothered by a combination of MS symptoms and AEs before, during, and after treatment. What they found was that the combined effect of symptoms and side effects was not substantially different between baseline and one week after treatment. This suggests that one week after treatment, the benefit gained from a decrease in MS symptoms was neutralized somewhat by the increased burden of adverse events related to treatment. Interestingly, the combined burden was the lowest on Day Two of IVMP treatment.