Can low dose dexamethasone improve lung function for preterm babies?

Chronic lung disease is an ongoing challenge for neonatal medicine, affecting around 1450 preterm babies every year in the UK. High doses of dexamethasone (a corticosteroid) have been shown to improve lung function, but may be associated with longer term neurodevelopmental problems. The effectiveness of lower doses of dexamethasone is unknown.

Dr Helen Yates, lead clinician for the Minidex trial, has recently published an article exploring this controversial topic and discussing the role of the Minidex trial in resolving this debate. The Minidex trial will examine the efficacy of very low dose dexamethasone therapy, to explore whether a minimal dose can still provide improvements in lung function without the short term side effects associated with standard dose therapy. Read the abstract.

This study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME) Programme (Reference Number 13/158/48). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Funding Acknowledgement: the Minidex trial is funded by the National Institute for Health Research EME Programme.