Advanced Practice: Duration of Prednisone Therapy for Severe Poison Ivy!

Study: Curtis G, Lewis AC. Treatment of Severe Poison Ivy: A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Long Versus Short Course Oral Prednisone. Journal of Clinical Medicine Research. 2014; 6(6): 429-434.


Background: Poison ivy is a common summer complaint in emergency departments around the country. Oral prednisone is often used in treatment of severe poison ivy however dosing regimens vary.


Methods: Randomized control trial comparing 5 day regimen of 40mg oral prednisone daily to a 5 day regimen of 40mg oral prednisone followed by prednisone taper (2 days 30mg, 2 days 20mg, 2 days 10mg, 4 days 5mg) Results: 55 patients enrolled, 49 patients completed study. Patients receiving the long course regimen were significantly less likely to utilize other medications (22.7% vs 55.6%). No significant difference was found between the groups in improvement of rash, time to improvement of rash, total number of days to complete resolution, or occurrence of side effects.


Conclusion: Patients who use a longer treatment course of prednisone for severe poison ivy use less additional medications for treatment.