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A comparison of 2 doses of antenatal dexamethasone for the prevention of respiratory distress syndrome: an open-label, noninferiority, pragmatic randomized trial.

Authors
  • Chawanpaiboon, Saifon1
  • Chukaew, Ronnakorn2
  • Pooliam, Julaporn3
  • 1 Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. Electronic address: [email protected]. , (Thailand)
  • 2 Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. , (Thailand)
  • 3 Clinical Epidemiological Unit, Office for Research and Development, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. , (Thailand)
Type
Published Article
Journal
American journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2024
Volume
230
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2023.07.006
PMID: 37442247
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Antenatal corticosteroids have been used for the prevention of respiratory complications, intraventricular hemorrhage, necrotizing enterocolitis, and other adverse neonatal outcomes for over 50 years, with limited evidence about their optimal doses. Higher steroid doses or frequencies of antenatal corticosteroids in preterm newborns pose adverse effects such as prolonged adrenal suppression, negative effects on fetal programming and metabolism, and increased risks of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychological impairments. Conversely, lower doses of antenatal corticosteroids may be an effective alternative to induce fetal lung maturation with less risk to the fetus. Late preterm births represent the largest population of all preterm neonates, with a respiratory distress syndrome risk of 8.83%. Therefore, determining the optimal antenatal corticosteroid dosage is of particular importance for this population. This study aimed to compare the efficacy of 5-mg and 6-mg dexamethasone in preventing neonatal respiratory distress syndrome in women with preterm births at 320 to 366 weeks of gestation. This was an open-label, randomized, controlled, noninferiority trial. Singleton pregnant women (n=370) at 320 to 366 weeks of gestation with spontaneous preterm labor or preterm premature rupture of membranes were enrolled. They were randomly assigned (1:1) to a 5-mg or 6-mg dexamethasone group. Dexamethasone was administered intramuscularly every 12 hours for 4 doses or until delivery. The primary outcome was the reduction in neonatal respiratory distress syndrome cases, whereas the secondary outcomes were any adverse maternal or neonatal events. Between December 2020 and April 2022, 370 eligible women, anticipating deliveries within the gestational range of 32 0/7 to 36 6/7 weeks, willingly participated in the study. They were evenly split, with 185 women assigned to the 5-mg group and 185 to the 6-mg group. The study revealed that the demographic profiles of the participants in the 2 groups were remarkably similar, with no statistically significant disparities (P>.05). It is noteworthy that most of these women gave birth after 34 weeks of gestation. Despite a substantial proportion not completing the full course of steroid treatment, the 5-mg dose exhibited noninferiority compared with the 6-mg dose of dexamethasone, as indicated by a modest proportional difference of 0.5% (95% confidence interval, -2.8 to 43.9). Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome occurred in a relatively low percentage of newborns in both groups, affecting 2.2% in the 5-mg group and 1.6% in the 6-mg group. Notably, the risk difference of 0.6% fell comfortably within the predefined noninferiority threshold of 10%. Our study suggests that a 5-mg dexamethasone dose is noninferior to a standard 6-mg dose in preventing neonatal respiratory distress syndrome in preterm births. Copyright © 2023 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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