According to the results of a trial published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, the use of antenatal dexamethasone is associated with a lower rate of neonatal intraventricular haemorrhage than betamethasone, although both agents are effective at reducing overall neonatal morbidity and mortality.
In the double-blind Antenatal Betamethasone Compared with Dexamethasone (Betacode) trial, investigators randomised women at risk for preterm delivery to treatment with antenatal betamethasone (n=100) or dexamethasone (n=105). Exclusion criteria included clinical chorioamnionitis, foetal structural and chromosomal abnormalities, prior antenatal steroid exposure, and steroid use for other indications.
The main results were as follows:
The authors state that their study "largely supports the continuing use of both betamethasone and dexamethasone in the treatment of women at risk of preterm delivery…However, dexamethasone seems to be more effective in reducing the rate of intraventricular haemorrhage compared with betamethasone”.
An accompanying editorial discusses the study.
[Editor's note: this summary was taken from the abstract only, as the full text was not accessible at the time of posting]