Repeated Prenatal Corticosteroids: effects on childhood development, behaviour, growth and health [ 2001 - 2003 ]

Research Grant

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Researchers: Prof Caroline Crowther (Principal investigator) ,  Prof Janet Hiller Prof Lex Doyle

Brief description Infants born preterm are at high risk of needing help with their breathing to survive. Corticosteroids given to the mother prior to preterm birth can substantially reduce these risks, although the beneficial effects of these drugs only seem to last seven days. Because of this there has been a tendancy to repeat the dose of prenatal steroids after seven days in women who remain at continued risk of very preterm birth. There has been no formal assessment of whether or not repeating the dose of prenatal corticosteroids is beneficial or harmful. In this clinical trial we will test what effect, if any, repeat doses of corticosteroids given to women who remain at risk of pretermbirth, have on children at the age of two years Women are eligible for the trial if at of less than 32 weeks of pregnancy, they have received corticosteroids seven or more days ago, and they are considered to be at continued risk of preterm birth. Women are randomised to one of the two treatment groups. Half the women will receive a weekly intramuscular injection of corticosteroids up to the time of birth or 32 weeks gestation, whichever is earlier, whilst the risk of very preterm birth remains. The other half of the women will receive a saline placebo injection. Chance will decide which treatment the women receives. In this study all children who survive to 2 years corrected age will be assessed to see if they have any problems with their health, growth and development. In particular we will assess how well they can walk, talk, understand, see and hear. The trial will be able to assess whether repeat doses of prenatal corticosteroids are helpful or not for infants at risk of being born very preterm by comparing the short term effects on infant health after birth and whilst in hospital with the effects on the child's later health, growth and development. An economic assessment of repeat doses of prenatal corticosteroids will be made in these children.

Funding Amount $AUD 718,055.08

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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