Efficacy and Safety of Methylprednisolone Sodium Succinate in Acute Spinal Cord Injury: A Systematic Review

Michael G. Fehlings, Jefferson R. Wilson, James S. Harrop, Brian K. Kwon, Lindsay A. Tetreault, Paul M. Arnold, Jeffrey M. Singh, Gregory Hawryluk, Joseph R. Dettori

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Study Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Objective: The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic review to assess the comparative effectiveness and safety of high-dose methylprednisolone sodium succinate (MPSS) versus no pharmacological treatment in patients with traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). Methods: A systematic search was performed in PubMed and the Cochrane Collaboration Library for literature published between January 1956 and June 17, 2015. Included studies were critically appraised, and Grades of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation methods were used to determine the overall quality of evidence for primary outcomes. Previous systematic reviews on this topic were collated and evaluated using the Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews scoring system. Results: The search yielded 723 citations, 13 of which satisfied inclusion criteria. Among these, 6 were primary research articles and 7 were previous systematic reviews. Based on the included research articles, there was moderate evidence that the 24-hour NASCIS II (National Acute Spinal Cord Injury Studies) MPSS regimen has no impact on long-term neurological recovery when all postinjury time points are considered. However, there is also moderate evidence that subjects receiving the same MPSS regimen within 8 hours of injury achieve an additional 3.2 points (95% confidence interval = 0.10 to 6.33; P =.04) of motor recovery compared with patients receiving placebo or no treatment. Conclusion: Although safe to administer, a 24-hour NASCIS II MPSS regimen, when all postinjury time points are considered, has no impact on indices of long-term neurological recovery. When commenced within 8 hours of injury, however, a high-dose 24-hour regimen of MPSS confers a small positive benefit on long-term motor recovery and should be considered a treatment option for patients with SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116S-137S
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Issue number3_supplement
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • MPSS
  • methylprednisolone sodium succinate
  • spinal cord injury
  • systematic review
  • traumatic spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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