Effects of postnatal dexamethasone exposure on the developmental outcome of premature infants

J Child Neurol. 2008 Apr;23(4):421-4. doi: 10.1177/0883073807309232. Epub 2007 Dec 13.


Extremely low birth weight premature infants are at risk for poor neurodevelopmental outcome. Postnatal dexamethasone has often been used in premature infants to prevent or treat bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and this drug is thought by some to affect neurodevelopmental outcome. We retrospectively examined the effect of this steroid on early neurodevelopment. Dexamethasone exposure was associated with an adverse outcome and was a stronger predictor of outcome than other accepted risk factors. If used, dexamethasone should be used in these high-risk infants for as short a period as possible.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects*
  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology*
  • Dexamethasone / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Male
  • Premature Birth / chemically induced*
  • Premature Birth / physiopathology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Dexamethasone