Different corticosteroids and regimens for accelerating fetal lung maturation for women at risk of preterm birth.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Aug 29CD
Despite the widespread use of antenatal corticosteroids to prevent respiratory distress syndrome in preterm infants, there is currently no consensus as to the type of corticosteroid to use; nor the dose, frequency, timing of use or the route of administration.
To assess the effects of different corticosteroid regimens for women at risk of preterm birth.
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (13 February 2013).
All identified published and unpublished randomised controlled trials or quasi-randomised control trials comparing any two corticosteroids (dexamethasone or betamethasone or any other corticosteroid that can cross the placenta), comparing different dose regimens (including frequency and timing of administration) in women at risk of preterm birth were included. We planned to exclude cross-over trials and cluster-randomised trials. We included studies published as abstracts only along with studies published as full-text manuscripts
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Two review authors independently assessed study eligibility, extracted data and assessed the risk of bias of included studies. Data were checked for accuracy.
For this update, 12 trials (1557 women and 1661 infants) were included. Dexamethasone was associated with a reduced risk of intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH) compared with betamethasone (risk ratio (RR) 0.44, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.21 to 0.92; four trials, 549 infants). No statistically significant differences were seen for other primary outcomes: respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) (RR 1.06, 95% CI 0.88 to 1.27; five trials, 753 infants) and perinatal death (neonatal death RR 1.41, 95% CI 0.54 to 3.67; four trials, 596 infants). Similarly, very few differences were seen for secondary outcomes such as rate of admission to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) although in one trial, those infants exposed to dexamethasone, compared with betamethasone, had a significantly shorter length of NICU admission (mean difference (MD) -0.91 days, 95% CI -1.77 to -0.05; 70 infants). Results for biophysical parameters were inconsistent, but mostly no clinically important differences were seen.Compared with intramuscular dexamethasone, oral dexamethasone significantly increased the incidence of neonatal sepsis (RR 8.48, 95% CI 1.11 to 64.93) in one trial of 183 infants. No statistically significant differences were seen for other outcomes reported.Apart from a reduced maternal postpartum length of stay for women who received betamethasone at 12-hourly intervals compared to 24-hourly intervals in one trial (MD -0.73 days, 95% CI -1.28 to -0.18; 215 women), no differences in maternal or neonatal outcomes were seen between the different betamethasone dosing intervals assessed. Similarly, no significant differences in outcomes were seen when betamethasone acetate and phosphate was compared with betamethasone phosphate in one trial.