Antenatal Corticosteroids Largely Equivalent in Efficacy

But dexamethasone yields lower rates of intraventricular hemorrhage than betamethasone

MONDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- Dexamethasone and betamethasone are equally effective at reducing neonatal morbidity and mortality in preterm neonates, according to a report published in the July issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. However, dexamethasone is associated with lower rates of intraventricular hemorrhage and brain lesions, the report indicates.

Andrew Elimian, M.D., of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, and colleagues conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of corticosteroids (dexamethasone and betamethasone) in 299 pregnant women at risk of preterm delivery.

Neonates from both treatment groups had similar rates of respiratory distress syndrome, necrotizing enterocolitis, retinopathy of prematurity, periventricular leukomalacia, patent ductus arteriosus, neonatal sepsis, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, need for vasopressor, and neonatal mortality. But neonates in the dexamethasone group had significantly lower rates of intraventricular hemorrhage (5.7 percent versus 17 percent; 11.3 percent absolute risk reduction) and brain lesion (6.7 percent versus 18 percent).

"Our study largely supports the continuing use of both betamethasone and dexamethasone in the treatment of women at risk of preterm delivery," the authors write.

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