To our knowledge, there have been no reports on the control of central nervous system symptoms in patients with ataxia-telangiectasia.
To preliminarily determine the effectiveness of corticosteroid therapy on the central nervous system symptoms of a child with ataxia-telangiectasia in whom neurological signs improved when, occasionally, he was given betamethasone to treat asthmatic bronchitis attacks.
Tertiary care hospital.
A 3-year-old boy with the classic hallmarks and a proved molecular diagnosis of ataxia-telangiectasia.
We used betamethasone, 0.1 mg/kg per 24 hours, divided every 12 hours, for 4 weeks to preliminarily determine its effectiveness on the child's central nervous system symptoms and its safety. Methylprednisolone, 2 mg/kg per 24 hours, divided every 12 hours, was then given in an attempt to perform a long-term treatment.
There were improvements in the child's neurological symptoms 2 or 3 days after the beginning of the drug treatment. After 2 weeks of treatment, the improvement was dramatic: the disturbance of stance and gait was clearly reduced, and the control of the head and neck had increased, as had control of skilled movements. At 4 weeks of treatment, adverse effects mainly included increased appetite and body weight and moon face. No beneficial effect was obtained when, after 4 weeks, betamethasone was replaced with methylprednisolone. Six months later, without therapy, the child continued to experience severe signs of central nervous system impairment.
Controlled studies to better understand the most appropriate drug and therapeutic schedule are required.