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Antenatal oral dexamethasone for neonatal respiratory distress syndrome increased neonatal morbidity

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Question Is antenatal oral dexamethasone as efficacious and safe as intramuscular dexamethasone for reducing neonatal respiratory distress syndrome?


Randomised controlled trial.




170 women who were 24–33 weeks gestation and had preterm labour, preterm rupture of membranes, or a medical indication for delivery. Women were excluded if they had previously received corticosteroids during the pregnancy, had received anticonvulsant treatment or rifampin, had an infection other than cystitis or cervicitis, had advanced cervical dilation (≥5 cm), or had known fetal pulmonary maturity through amniocentesis or vaginal pool sampling. 5 women were unavailable for follow up.


Women were allocated to dexamethasone, 8 mg orally (n=92) or dexamethasone, 6 mg …

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  • Source of funding: none stated.

  • For correspondence: Dr R S Egerman, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Tennessee, Memphis, 853 Jefferson, Suite E 102, Memphis, TN 38103, USA. Fax +1 901 448 4701.