Outcome of very-low-birth-weight infants exposed to beta-sympathomimetics in utero

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Jun;164(6 Pt 1):1657-64; discussion 1664-5. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(91)91452-3.


In this study we examined neonatal and early childhood outcomes after intrauterine exposure to beta-sympathomimetic agents on infants with birth weights less than or equal to 1500 gm. The hospital courses and anthropomorphic, developmental, and neurologic development of 201 infants exposed to one or more beta-sympathomimetic agents (isoxsuprine, 33; ritodrine, 70; terbutaline, 43; combination, 55) were analyzed and compared with those of 130 control infants of similar birth weight. One hundred and seventy-seven infants had follow-up to 1 year of age, 101 to age 3, and 58 to age 4. When treatments consisting of a single beta-sympathomimetic or no treatment were compared, there were no statistically significant overall differences found in growth and development or in most of the short-term measures of infant well-being. However, significant overall differences with no evidence of confounding by time-related effects were found for the following; mortality, none greater than terbutaline; maximum positive inspiratory pressure when respiratory distress syndrome was present, none greater than terbutaline; neonatal trauma, terbutaline greater than ritodrine. Other differences were found in conjunction with evidence of time-related confounding, or within specific time intervals. It should be noted that these differences are not necessarily due to effects of the different treatments, as the data are observational.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Isoxsuprine / adverse effects
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Ritodrine / adverse effects
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Sympathomimetics / adverse effects*
  • Terbutaline / adverse effects
  • Time Factors
  • Tocolytic Agents / adverse effects


  • Sympathomimetics
  • Tocolytic Agents
  • Ritodrine
  • Terbutaline
  • Isoxsuprine