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Erythromycin Helps Infants with Inadequate Nutrition

High-dose erythromycin can be used in infants without obstructive pathologies

FRIDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- High-dose oral erythromycin can be used as a rescue measure for very low birth weight (VLBW) infants who fail to establish adequate enteral nutrition, according to the results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in the May issue of Gastroenterology.

Pak C. Ng, M.D., of Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong, and colleagues randomized 182 VLBW infants attaining less than half the total daily intake of milk feeds on day 14 to either saline or 12.5 mg/kg/dose erythromycin every six hours for 14 days. The primary aim was to determine if high-dose erythromycin can reduce parenteral nutrition-associated cholestasis.

The incidence of parenteral nutrition-associated cholestasis was lower in the treated group, occurring in 18 of 91 patients, compared to the control group, which had 37 cases per 91 patients. In addition, treated infants achieved full enteral nutrition an average of 10.1 days earlier than control patients and experienced fewer episodes of septicemia.

"High-dose oral erythromycin can be considered as a rescue measure for VLBW infants who fail to establish adequate enteral nutrition and in whom anatomically obstructive pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract have been excluded," the authors write.

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