We included studies published as abstracts only along with studies published as full-textmanuscripts\n\nData collection and analysis\n\nTwo review authors independently assessed study eligibility, extracted data and assessed the risk of bias of included studies. Data were checked for accuracy.\n\nMain 4EGI-1 chemical structure results\n\nFor this update,
12 trials (1557 women and 1661 infants) were included. Dexamethasone was associated with a reduced risk of intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH) compared with betamethasone (risk ratio (RR) 0.44, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.21 to 0.92; four trials, 549 infants). No statistically significant differences were seen for other primary outcomes: respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) selleck chemicals llc (RR 1.06, 95% CI 0.88 to 1.27; five trials, 753 infants) and perinatal death (neonatal death RR 1.41, 95% CI 0.54 to 3.67; four trials, 596 infants). Similarly, very few differences were seen for secondary outcomes such as rate of admission to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) although in one trial, those infants exposed to dexamethasone, compared with betamethasone, had a significantly shorter length of NICU admission (mean difference (MD) -0.91 days, 95% CI -1.77 to -0.05;
70 infants). Results for biophysical parameters were inconsistent, but mostly no clinically important differences were seen.\n\nCompared with intramuscular dexamethasone, oral dexamethasone significantly increased the incidence of neonatal sepsis (RR 8.48, 95% CI 1.11 to 64.93) in one trial of 183 infants. No statistically significant differences were seen for other outcomes reported.\n\nApart from a reduced maternal postpartum length of stay for women who received betamethasone at 12-hourly intervals compared to 24-hourly intervals in one trial (MD -0.73 days, 95% CI -1.28 to -0.18; 215 women), no differences
in maternal or neonatal outcomes were seen between the different betamethasone dosing intervals PFTα assessed. Similarly, no significant differences in outcomes were seen when betamethasone acetate and phosphate was compared with betamethasone phosphate in one trial.\n\nAuthors’ conclusions\n\nIt remains unclear whether one corticosteroid (or one particular regimen) has advantages over another.\n\nDexamethasone may have some benefits compared with betamethasone such as less IVH, and a shorter length of stay in the NICU. The intramuscular route may have advantages over the oral route for dexamethasone, as identified in one small trial. Apart from the suggestion that 12-hour dosing may be as effective as 24-hour dosing of betamethasone based on one small trial, few other conclusions about optimal antenatal corticosteroid regimens were able to be made. No long-term results were available except for a small subgroup of 18 month old children in one trial. Trials comparing the commonly used corticosteroids are most urgently needed, as are trials of dosages and other variations in treatment regimens.