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A Randomized Trial Comparing the Impact of One Versus Two Courses of Antenatal Steroids (ACS) on Neonatal Outcome (ACS)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00201643
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : September 20, 2005
Results First Posted : March 1, 2011
Last Update Posted : January 7, 2015
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Mednax Center for Research, Education, Quality and Safety ( Obstetrix Medical Group )

Brief Summary:
The hypothesis is that administration of two courses of antenatal corticosteroids, compared to one course, will show a 40% reduction in the incidence of composite neonatal morbidity in patients delivering prior to 34 weeks' gestation.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Preterm Delivery Drug: Betamethasone or Dexamethasone (2nd course of ACS) Drug: Placebo Phase 4

Detailed Description:

This is a randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled trial. The objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of one versus two courses of antenatal steroids on the incidence of major neonatal morbidity including respiratory distress syndrome in patients delivering prior to 34 weeks' gestation in a randomized prospective fashion.

Preterm delivery occurs in approximately 10% of all deliveries in the United States. Preterm birth is the cause of 75% of neonatal mortality not mentioning the significantly increased morbidity from respiratory distress syndrome, intraventricular hemorrhage, necrotizing enterocolitis, and sepsis. Numerous studies have evaluated the safety and efficacy of antenatal corticosteroid (ACS) administration in threatened preterm labor.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) first consensus conference in 1994 evaluated the research in this field. Conclusions included the clear evidence that antenatal corticosteroids decrease the incidence of RDS in infants born at 29-34 weeks gestation, with a decrease in RDS severity for infants born at 24-28 weeks gestation and a decrease in the incidence of intraventricular hemorrhage in infants born at 24-28 weeks gestation without harm to mother or fetus. Their recommendation was to give a single course of corticosteroids to all pregnant women between 24 and 34 weeks gestation who are at risk of preterm delivery within 7 days.

Since the studies on the duration of the effects of antenatal corticosteroids in the fetus are not conclusive, many obstetricians repeat corticosteroids weekly or bi-weekly to patients continuing to be at risk for preterm delivery. Lacking scientific evidence, many investigators have performed retrospective analyses regarding the effects of single-course versus multiple-course antenatal corticosteroids.

The NIH consensus panel reconvened in 2000 and concluded that studies regarding repeated courses of corticosteroids are suggestive of possible benefits, especially in reduction of RDS, however, design flaws limit their validity.

The more recent publication from Caughey and Parer examined the literature for evidence regarding a dose response of the benefits and detriments of antenatal corticosteroids. Based on their complex mathematical analysis they recommend all fetus' between 24 and 34 weeks' gestation at risk for preterm delivery should be given a first course of ANC. If the risk of preterm delivery persists the next course should be given 2 weeks later, for a maximum of two courses. Consistent with all previous articles, the call for a well designed randomized, controlled trial is made.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 437 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: A Randomized Double-Blinded Study Comparing the Impact of One Versus Two Courses of Antenatal Steroids on Neonatal Outcome
Study Start Date : November 2003
Actual Primary Completion Date : February 2008
Actual Study Completion Date : February 2008

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Active Comparator: 1 Test group
Receive 2nd Course = Study drug (betamethasone or dexamethasone)
Drug: Betamethasone or Dexamethasone (2nd course of ACS)
Course of Betamethasone or Dexamethasone
Other Names:
  • Beta
  • Dex

Placebo Comparator: 2 - Control
Placebo group = received placebo course
Drug: Placebo
Course of Placebo (NS)
Other Name: Placebo, Normal Saline.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Composite Neonatal Morbidity < 34 Weeks Gestation at Time of Birth. [ Time Frame: From birth to 28 days of life ]
    This outcome measured the total number of neonates with Composite Neonatal morbidity who delivered at < 34 weeks gestation. Composite Morbidity consisted of respiratory distress syndrome, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, severe intraventricular hemorrhage, periventricular leukomalacia, proven sepsis, necrotizing enterocolitis, or perinatal death

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Gestational Age at (@) Delivery [ Time Frame: gestational age at delivery in weeks of gestation ]
    Reported the average/mean Neonatal gestational age (GA) (reported in weeks of pregnancy) at the time of birth for both groups (ACS vs. Placebo).

  2. Neonatal Birth Weight Reported in Grams [ Time Frame: At time of Birth ]
    Measured mean Birth weights of Neonates in each arm as reported in grams on the birth record.

  3. Interuterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) or Small for Gestational Age(SGA)in Babies Delivering at < 34 Weeks Gestation. [ Time Frame: Measured at birth. ]
    Noted as the total number of Neonates delivering at < 34 weeks gestation for which their weights fell within the 10th percentile at time of birth.

  4. Neonatal Head Circumference Taken at Time of Birth. [ Time Frame: Birth ]
    Reported as the average of all neonatal head circumferences (HC) taken at time of birth in each group.

  5. Number of Babies Who Required Ventilatory Support Within the First 28 Days of Life. [ Time Frame: birth to 28 days of life ]
    The number of babies who required ventilatory support within the first 28 days of life. Equal to or great than 12 hours was considered one day.

  6. Number of Neonates Who Required Surfactant Therapy After Birth. [ Time Frame: Birth to 28 days of life ]
    The Number of neonates who required surfactant therapy within the first 28 days after birth.

  7. Number of Neonates With Pneumothorax [ Time Frame: birth to 28 days of life ]
    Total number of neonates with pneumothorax diagnosed postpartum.

  8. Maternal Infectious Morbidity. [ Time Frame: Up to 28 days after giving birth ]
    Total number of Mothers having Maternal infectious morbidity (e.g. endometritis & maternal sepsis) noted from birth through 28 days after birth

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 60 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • 25 to 32 6/7 weeks gestation
  • Singleton or twin gestation
  • Received 1st course of betamethasone prior to 30 weeks' gestation
  • Began 1st course of betamethasone at least 14 days prior to randomization
  • Risk of delivery in next 7 days due to either maternal or fetal complication (e.g. preterm labor, severe preeclampsia, IUGR, etc.)
  • Intact membranes

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Known major fetal anomalies (eg: anencephaly, renal agenesis etc…)
  • High order multiple gestation (triplets or higher)
  • Cervical dilation > 5 cm
  • Clinical chorioamnionitis prior to initiation of second course (two or more of the following; antepartum temperature > 38ºC (100.4ºF), uterine tenderness, foul smelling vaginal discharge or amniotic fluid, maternal tachycardia (>100beats/min), fetal tachycardia (>160 beats/min), or white blood cell count >20x109/L.define)
  • Ruptured membranes prior to initiation of second course of betamethasone
  • Already receiving corticosteroids for other conditions (e.g. Lupus, asthma)
  • Maternal condition contraindicating the use of steroids (e.g. HIV, active Tuberculosis)
  • Participation in conflicting study

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00201643

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Sponsors and Collaborators
Obstetrix Medical Group
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Study Director: Kimberly Maurel, RN, MSN, CNS Obstetrix Medical Group, Inc.
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Responsible Party: Obstetrix Medical Group Identifier: NCT00201643    
Other Study ID Numbers: OBX0001
OBX0001 ( Other Identifier: Obstetrix Medical Group )
First Posted: September 20, 2005    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: March 1, 2011
Last Update Posted: January 7, 2015
Last Verified: December 2014
Keywords provided by Mednax Center for Research, Education, Quality and Safety ( Obstetrix Medical Group ):
Preterm Labor
Preterm delivery
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Premature Birth
Obstetric Labor, Premature
Obstetric Labor Complications
Pregnancy Complications
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Autonomic Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Gastrointestinal Agents
Hormones, Hormone Substitutes, and Hormone Antagonists
Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
Antineoplastic Agents
Anti-Asthmatic Agents
Respiratory System Agents