Treatments for Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) in Children

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Treatment for Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)

Medications are used to reduce the inflammation (swelling) in your child's brain and spinal cord. The main medication that is used is called methylprednisolone (Solu-medrol®), which is a corticosteroid given by IV once a day for three to five days. This medication is completely different from the illegal steroids that some athletes use.

Most children with ADEM improve with high doses of methylprednisolone. If methylprednisolone does not work, there are other treatments we use (such as plasmapheresis or intravenous immunoglobulin therapy).

What are the side effects of the treatment?

Most children tolerate the steroids (the medication) very well. But in some children there are side effects such as:

  • temporary moodiness or other behavioral changes
  • increases in blood pressure and blood sugar, which your child's doctor or nurse will be monitoring and can treat if necessary
  • irritated stomach lining

Will my child leave the hospital on medications?


Some children will be placed on a steroid called prednisone for a short period of time. Your child may also be prescribed a medication to prevent stomach irritation.

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