Introduction High-dose corticosteroids are often used to treat acute relapses in multiple sclerosis (MS). A common side effect experienced by patients from treatment is an unpleasant metallic taste. This study thus aims to determine if consuming liquorice prior to corticosteroid administration can reduce the severity of metallic taste experienced.
Methods An interventional study of patients attending the MS acute relapse clinic at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery was performed. Patients completed a questionnaire without pre-administration of liquorice on day 1 and with pre-administration of liquorice on day 2 of methylprednisolone treatment. The severity of the metallic taste and tolerability of liquorice were assessed.
Results 37 patients were analysed. The mean pre-intervention and post-intervention scores were 6.0±2.4 and 2.9±2.2 respectively, demonstrating an absolute reduction of 3.1±2.1 points (p<0.001) and a relative reduction of 51.5%. Statistical analysis of other variables such as gender, Expanded Disability Severity Scale, duration of MS, previous steroid usage and route of steroid administration showed no significant difference.
Conclusion We have shown that administration of liquorice prior to steroid therapy reduces the severity of the metallic taste by half and was beneficial in over 90% of patients.