Pharmacological Therapy for Acute Spinal Cord Injury

Publication Date: March 1, 2013
Last Updated: March 14, 2022


Level I

Administration of methylprednisolone (MP) for the treatment of acute spinal cord injury (SCI) is not recommended. Clinicians considering MP therapy should bear in mind that the drug is not Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for this application. There is no Class I or Class II medical evidence supporting the clinical benefit of MP in the treatment of acute SCI. Scattered reports of Class III evidence claim inconsistent effects likely related to random chance or selection bias. However, Class I, II, and III evidence exists that high-dose steroids are associated with harmful side effects including death.
Administration of GM-1 ganglioside (Sygen) for the treatment of acute SCI is not recommended.

Recommendation Grading




Pharmacological Therapy for Acute Spinal Cord Injury

Authoring Organization

Publication Month/Year

March 1, 2013

Last Updated Month/Year

August 22, 2023

Supplemental Implementation Tools

Document Type


External Publication Status


Country of Publication


Inclusion Criteria

Female, Male, Adolescent, Adult, Older adult

Health Care Settings

Ambulatory, Hospital, Operating and recovery room

Intended Users

Physician, physical therapist, chiropractor, nurse, nurse practitioner, physician assistant


Assessment and screening, Diagnosis, Prevention, Management, Treatment

Diseases/Conditions (MeSH)

D013119 - Spinal Cord Injuries


spinal cord injury, GM-1 ganglioside, Pharmacologic therapy, Sygen trials, Mehtylprednisolone, NASCIS trials