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Respiratory Medications in Infants <29 Weeks during the First Year Postdischarge: The Prematurity and Respiratory Outcomes Program (PROP) Consortium



To determine patterns of respiratory medications used in neonatal intensive care unit graduates.

Study design

The Prematurity Respiratory Outcomes Program enrolled 835 babies <29 weeks of gestation in the first week. Of 751 survivors, 738 (98%) completed at least 1, and 85% completed all 4, postdischarge medication usage in-person/telephone parental questionnaires requested at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months of corrected age. Respiratory drug usage over the first year of life after in neonatal intensive care unit discharge was analyzed.


During any given quarter, 66%-75% of the babies received no respiratory medication and 45% of the infants received no respiratory drug over the first year. The most common postdischarge medication was the inhaled bronchodilator albuterol; its use increased significantly from 13% to 31%. Diuretic usage decreased significantly from 11% to 2% over the first year. Systemic steroids (prednisone, most commonly) were used in approximately 5% of subjects in any one quarter. Inhaled steroids significantly increased over the first year from 9% to 14% at 12 months. Drug exposure changed significantly based on gestational age with 72% of babies born at 23-24 weeks receiving at least 1 respiratory medication but only 40% of babies born at 28 weeks. Overall, at some time in the first year, 55% of infants received at least 1 drug including an inhaled bronchodilator (45%), an inhaled steroid (22%), a systemic steroid (15%), or diuretic (12%).


Many babies born at <29 weeks have no respiratory medication exposure postdischarge during the first year of life. Inhaled medications, including bronchodilators and steroids, increase over the first year.

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