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Long-term follow up of children exposed in utero to nifedipine or ritodrine for the management of preterm labour.

Author(s): Houtzager BA, Hogendoorn SM, Papatsonis DN, Samsom JF, van Geijn HP, Bleker OP, van Wassenaer AG

Affiliation(s): Pediatric Psychosocial Department, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Publication date & source: 2006-03, BJOG., 113(3):324-31.

Publication type: Multicenter Study; Randomized Controlled Trial

OBJECTIVE: To compare the long-term psychosocial and motor effects on children exposed in utero to nifedipine or ritodrine for the management of preterm labour. DESIGN: Randomised controlled trial. SETTING: Multicentre study in two university and one primary hospital in the Netherlands. POPULATION: In the original trial, 185 women were randomised to either nifedipine (n = 95) or ritodrine (n = 90). Of the 185 liveborn children, 171 survived (92%), and of these 102 (61%) were followed up at age 9-12 years. METHODS: Age-specific questionnaires were administered to the parent and teacher. Additional data were obtained from medical records. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Questionnaires were used to assess the child's behavioural-emotional problems, quality of life (QoL), motor functioning, parenting distress and the child's education. RESULTS: Of the 171 eligible families, 102 (61%) agreed to participate and completed the questionnaires. Response was equal in the ritodrine group (n = 54 of 83 surviving children, 65%) compared with the nifedipine group (n= 48 of 88 surviving children, 55%). After controlling for differing perinatal characteristics at birth, no significant differences between the groups were detected with respect to long-term behaviour-emotional outcome, QoL, education, motor functioning or parenting distress. Psychosocial outcome was slightly better in the nifedipine group. CONCLUSIONS: The results do not support any differential postnatal effect of the tocolytic agents ritodrine or nifedipine on the child's long-term psychosocial and motor functioning. The slightly better outcome of children randomised in the nifedipine group is most likely due to more favourable perinatal outcomes in this group. These results merit further investigation in a larger group of survivors.

Page last updated: 2006-11-04

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