Perinatal indomethacin treatment and neonatal complications in preterm infants

Eur J Pediatr. 2000 Mar;159(3):153-5. doi: 10.1007/s004310050040.


To evaluate the incidence of neonatal complications among infants exposed to indomethacin antenatally, postnatally or both ante-and postnatally (combined), the records of 240 infants of gestational ages between 23 to 32 weeks were analysed retrospectively. Antenatal indomethacin treatment for longer than 2 days with a daily or cumulative dosage >/=150 mg correlated with a significantly higher incidence of grade I-II intraventricular haemorrhage. Combined exposure, cumulative antenatal exposure >/=150 mg and duration of antenatal exposure of more than 2 days was associated with necrotising enterocolitis and a cumulative exposure with sepsis. There was no independent association between indomethacin exposure and pneumothorax, bronchopulmonary dysplasia or respiratory distress syndrome.

Conclusion: Preterm infants with exposure to antenatal indomethacin might be at increased risk of grade I and II intraventricular haemorrhage and those with both ante- and postnatal exposure at an increased risk of necrotising enterocolitis and sepsis.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indomethacin / adverse effects*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sepsis / etiology
  • Tocolytic Agents / adverse effects*


  • Tocolytic Agents
  • Indomethacin