Establishing enteral feeding in preterm infants with feeding intolerance: a randomized controlled study of low-dose erythromycin.
Author(s): Ng SC, Gomez JM, Rajadurai VS, Saw SM, Quak SH
Affiliation(s): Department of Neonatology, Children's Medical Institute, National University Hospital, Singapore. email@example.com
Publication date & source: 2003-11, J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr., 37(5):554-8.
Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial
OBJECTIVE: A prospective, double-blind, randomized, controlled trial was conducted to evaluate the effect of low-dose erythromycin on the time taken to attain full enteral feedings in preterm infants with very low birth weight and feeding intolerance. METHODS: Two groups of preterm infants (birth weight </= 1500 g) with feeding intolerance were randomized to either low-dose erythromycin (5 mg/kg every 8 hours) or 5% dextrose placebo, both of which were discontinued 1 week after full enteral feedings were tolerated. The primary outcome variable was the time taken to attain full enteral feedings of at least 130 mL/kg/d. RESULTS: The gestational age at birth was similar in the two groups (erythromycin, 27.1 +/- 1.9 weeks; placebo, 27.5 +/- 2.9 weeks). The mean birth weight of the erythromycin group was lower (806.3 +/- 215.6 g) than the placebo group (981.4 +/- 285.4 g; P = 0.18), and included more infants who were small for gestational age (4/13 = 31% versus 1/11 = 9%; P = 0.224). There was no difference between the two groups with regard to the volume of feedings they were receiving at the time of enrollment. Reduction in symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux was similar in the two groups. 3 of 13 in the erythromycin group and 4 of 11 in the placebo group improved during the study (P = 0.565). The mean time to attain full enteral feedings after enrollment was 24.9 + 2.9 days in the erythromycin group and 30.8 +/- 4.1 days in the placebo group, a difference that did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.17). CONCLUSIONS: Low-dose erythromycin did not reduce the time taken to attain full enteral feedings in preterm infants with very low birth weight and feeding intolerance. Gastroesophageal reflux decreased as a consequence of maturation of the gastrointestinal tract and not because of erythromycin. These preliminary results justify verification in larger multicenter trials.