Repeat doses of prenatal corticosteroids for women at risk of preterm birth for improving neonatal health outcomes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

ARCH: Australian Research Centre for Health of Women and Babies, Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Adelaide, Women's and Children's Hospital, 72 King William Road, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 5006.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 6.03). 06/2011; 7(6):CD003935. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003935.pub3
Source: PubMed


It has been unclear whether repeat dose(s) of prenatal corticosteroids are beneficial.
To assess the effectiveness and safety of repeat dose(s) of prenatal corticosteroids.
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (31 March 2011), searched reference lists of retrieved studies and contacted authors for further data.
Randomised controlled trials of women who had already received a single course of corticosteroids seven or more days previously and considered still at risk of preterm birth.
We assessed trial quality and extracted data independently.
We included 10 trials (more than 4730 women and 5650 babies) with low to moderate risk of bias. Treatment of women who remain at risk of preterm birth seven or more days after an initial course of prenatal corticosteroids with repeat dose(s), compared with no repeat corticosteroid treatment, reduced the risk of their infants experiencing the primary outcomes respiratory distress syndrome (risk ratio (RR) 0.83, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.75 to 0.91, eight trials, 3206 infants, numbers needed to treat (NNT) 17, 95% CI 11 to 32) and serious infant outcome (RR 0.84, 95% CI 0.75 to 0.94, seven trials, 5094 infants, NNT 30, 95% CI 19 to 79).Treatment with repeat dose(s) of corticosteroid was associated with a reduction in mean birthweight (mean difference (MD) -75.79 g, 95% CI -117.63 to -33.96, nine trials, 5626 infants). However, outcomes that adjusted birthweight for gestational age (birthweight Z scores, birthweight multiples of the median and small-for-gestational age) did not differ between treatment groups.At early childhood follow-up no statistically significant differences were seen for infants exposed to repeat prenatal corticosteroids compared with unexposed infants for the primary outcomes (total deaths; survival free of any disability or major disability; disability; or serious outcome) or in the secondary outcome growth assessments.
The short-term benefits for babies of less respiratory distress and fewer serious health problems in the first few weeks after birth support the use of repeat dose(s) of prenatal corticosteroids for women still at risk of preterm birth seven days or more after an initial course. These benefits were associated with a small reduction in size at birth. The current available evidence reassuringly shows no significant harm in early childhood, although no benefit.Further research is needed on the long-term benefits and risks for the woman and baby. Individual patient data meta-analysis may clarify how to maximise benefit and minimise harm.

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    • "However, a number of potentially adverse nonpulmonary effects of antenatal glucocorticoids have been described (Miller and Wallace, 2013), including reduction of fetal growth (Miller et al., 2007, Miller et al., 2012, Sutherland et al., 2012), reduced fetal brain weight (Huang et al., 1999), and reduced myelination within the fetal brain (Dunlop et al., 1997, Huang et al., 2001, Antonow-Schlorke et al., 2009). In human pregnancies, for example, birth weight is reduced for babies born more than 7 days after single (Murphy et al., 2012) or multiple (Wapner et al., 2007, Crowther et al., 2011) courses of maternal glucocorticoid treatment. In mice, a single prenatal dose of betamethasone (BM) impaired performance of the offspring in behavioral tests (Rayburn et al., 1998). "
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    ABSTRACT: The risk of preterm delivery often means that the fetus will be exposed to exogenous synthetic glucocorticoids to accelerate fetal lung maturation, but effects on other organs, particularly the brain, are not understood. The neurosteroid allopregnanolone (AP) is a GABAA receptor agonist that influences fetal brain development, suppresses CNS activity, and has neuroprotective properties. In this study we determined the impact of maternal glucocorticoid (betamethasone) administration on brain development and AP synthesis in preterm fetal sheep.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Neuropharmacology
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    • "At weekly intervals, if the woman has not yet given birth, and remains at continued risk of preterm birth, justifying the use of repeat antenatal corticosteroids [34-36], a ‘repeat treatment pack’ containing a single syringe from the same treatment group will be allocated using the telephone randomisation service. "
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Both dexamethasone and betamethasone, given to women at risk of preterm birth, substantially improve short-term neonatal health, increase the chance of the baby being discharged home alive, and reduce childhood neurosensory disability, remaining safe into adulthood. However, it is unclear which corticosteroid is of greater benefit to mother and child.This study aims to determine whether giving dexamethasone to women at risk of preterm birth at less than 34 weeks' gestation increases the chance of their children surviving free of neurosensory disability at two years' corrected age, compared with betamethasone.Methods/design: Design randomised, multicentre, placebo controlled trial.Inclusion criteria women at risk of preterm birth at less than 34 weeks' gestation with a singleton or twin pregnancy and no contraindications to the use of antenatal corticosteroids and who give informed consent.Trial entry & randomisation at telephone randomisation eligible women will be randomly allocated to either the dexamethasone group or the betamethasone group, allocated a study number and corresponding treatment pack.Study groups women in the dexamethasone group will be administered two syringes of 12 mg dexamethasone (dexamethasone sodium phosphate) and women in the betamethasone group will be administered two syringes of 11.4 mg betamethasone (Celestone Chronodose). Both study groups consist of intramuscular treatments 24 hours apart.Primary study outcome death or any neurosensory disability measured in children at two years' corrected age.Sample size a sample size of 1449 children is required to detect either a decrease in death or any neurosensory disability from 27.0% to 20.1% with dexamethasone compared with betamethasone, or an increase from 27.0% to 34.5% (two-sided alpha 0.05, 80% power, 5% loss to follow up, design effect 1.2). DISCUSSION: This study will provide high-level evidence of direct relevance for clinical practice. If one drug clearly results in significantly fewer deaths and fewer disabled children then it should be used consistently in women at risk of preterm birth and would be of great importance to women at risk of preterm birth, their children, health services and communities.Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12608000631303.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
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    • "While in one country the vast majority of providers mentioned the prescription of the doses recommended in the literature and in the international and national guidelines, in other countries between 40% and 80% of providers did not mention this correct regimen. There is also no evidence that repeated doses of ACT are of benefit, but 60% of providers faced with a clinical situation said that they would repeat the administration after an episode of ATL [11]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Antenatal corticosteroids administered to women at risk of preterm birth is an intervention which has been proved to reduce the risk of respiratory distress syndrome, intraventricular hemorrhage, and neonatal mortality. There is a significant gap in the literature regarding the prevalence of the use of antenatal corticosteroids in Latin American countries and the attitudes and opinions of providers regarding this practice. The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices of health care providers regarding the use of antenatal corticosteroids in women at risk of preterm birth in Latin America. This was a multicenter, prospective, descriptive study conducted in maternity hospitals in Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico and Uruguay. Physicians and midwives who provide prenatal care or intrapartum care for women delivering in the selected hospitals were approached using a self-administered questionnaire. Descriptive statistics was used. The percentage of use of ACT in threatened preterm labour (TPL) reported by providers varies from 70% in Mexico to 97% in Ecuador. However, 60% to 20% of the providers mentioned that they would not use this medication in women at risk and would limit its use when there was a threatened preterm labour. In only one country recommended regimens of antenatal corticosteroids are followed by around 90% of providers whereas in the other three countries recommended regimens are followed by only 21%, 61%, 69% of providers. Around 40% of providers mentioned that they would administer a new dose of corticosteroids again, regardless the patient already receiving an entire regimen. Between 11% and 35% of providers, according to the countries, mentioned that they do not have adequate information on the correct use of this medication. This study shows that the use of this intervention could be improved by increasing the knowledge of Latin American providers on its indications, benefits, and regimens.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Reproductive Health
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