Objective: This study was undertaken to determine whether dexamethasone or betamethasone is superior for the antepartum treatment of HELLP (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count) syndrome.
Study design: This prospective, randomized, clinical investigation compared intravenously administered dexamethasone and intramuscularly administered betamethasone in the treatment of gravid women with HELLP syndrome. Efficacy end points included laboratory values (platelet count, lactate dehydrogenase activity, aspartate aminotransferase activity) and clinical parameters (mean arterial pressure, urinary output).
Results: Forty patients were enrolled in the study, 19 in the dexamethasone arm and 21 in the betamethasone arm. The adjusted time-averaged changes from baseline were significant for aspartate aminotransferase activity (dexamethasone, -20.4 +/- 9.6 U/L; betamethasone, 9.9 +/- 8.9 U/L; P =.029), mean arterial pressure (dexamethasone, -15.6 +/- 1.4 mm Hg; betamethasone, -8.1 +/- 1.4 mm Hg; P <.001), and urinary output (dexamethasone, 12.9 +/- 8.6 mL/h; betamethasone, -11.9 +/- 8.2 mL/h; P =.043).
Conclusion: Intravenously administered dexamethasone appears to be more effective than intramuscularly administered betamethasone for the antepartum treatment of mothers with HELLP syndrome.