Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of short-course low-dose oral prednisolone in symptomatic pityriasis rosea (PR) of onset <5 days and compare it with placebo.
Methods: Placebo-controlled randomized double-blind study design with the treatment group receiving tapering doses of oral prednisolone over 2 weeks and the control group receiving a placebo. Outcome measures evaluated were subsidence of patient-perceived pruritus, improvement in rash quantified by a specific score, adverse effects and relapse at 12 weeks.
Results: The improvement in the pruritus score as well as objective rash score were much better in the prednisolone-treated group. No adverse effects reported in either group. The relapse rate at 12 weeks was much higher in the prednisolone treated group.
Conclusions: Oral corticosteroids, even if used in low-dose and for a short tapering course should not be the first line of therapy for PR. The only justified indication may be extensive and highly symptomatic lesions of PR.