Evaluation of an intensive methylprednisolone sodium succinate dosing regimen in experimental spinal cord injury

J. M. Braughler, E. D. Hall, E. D. Means, T. R. Waters, D. K. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


Beginning 30 minutes after compression trauma of the upper lumbar (L-2) spinal cord, cats were treated with either a high-dose regimen of methylprednisolone (MP) administered as the sodium salt of the 21-succinate ester (Solu-Medrol sterile powder) or the MP vehicle. Animals were randomly assigned to either treatment group (10 cats per group), and all personnel were blind as to which animals received vehicle or drug. The intensive 48-hour dosing regimen was designed to maintain therapeutic tissue levels of MP and consisted of an initial 30 mg/kg intravenous bolus of MP; 2 and 6 hours later additional 15 mg/kg MP doses were administered by intravenous bolus. Immediately following the bolus given at 6 hours, a continuous MP infusion of 2.5 mg/kg/hr was started. The infusion was stopped abruptly at 48 hours with no dose tapering. Animals in the vehicle group received an equivalent volume of MP vehicle. The total MP dose administered over 48 hours was 165 mg/kg. Animals were evaluated weekly for neurological recovery based upon a 12-point functional scale which assessed general mobility, running, and stair-climbing. Mean recovery scores at 1 month after injury (± standard error of the mean) were: vehicle group (seven cats) 3.7 ± 0.9, and MP group (10 cats) 8.7 ± 0.2; (p < 0.001). Histological evaluation of the spinal cords revealed a strong negative correlation between neurological recovery and size of the spinal cord cavity at 1 month (r = -0.88). Three of 10 animals in the vehicle group became ill and had to be dropped from the study, whereas all of the 10 MP-treated animals survived in excellent health. The results demonstrate the therapeutic effectiveness and low incidence of side effects associated with an intensive MP dose regimen for treatment of experimental spinal cord injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-105
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of an intensive methylprednisolone sodium succinate dosing regimen in experimental spinal cord injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this