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More Steroid Courses No Better in Preterm Birth Strategy
No difference in death or disability at age 5 after single, multiple courses of antenatal corticosteroids

TUESDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with a single course of antenatal corticosteroid therapy, multiple courses do not increase or decrease the risk of death or disability for the child at age 5 years, according to research published online Oct. 14 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Elizabeth V. Asztalos, M.D., of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, and colleagues analyzed data in a cohort follow-up study of 1,719 children whose mothers, at risk of preterm birth, had been randomly assigned to receive either multiple courses or a single course of antenatal corticosteroid therapy.

The researchers observed no significant difference in the risk of death or neurodevelopmental disability among children in the multiple-courses group compared with the single-course group (odds ratio, 1.02; P = 0.84).

"Multiple courses, compared with a single course, of antenatal corticosteroid therapy did not increase or decrease the risk of death or disability at 5 years of age," the authors write. "Because of a lack of strong conclusive evidence of short-term or long-term benefits, it remains our opinion that multiple courses not be recommended in women with ongoing risk of preterm birth."

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