Piracetam for fetal distress in labour

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Jun 13;2012(6):CD001064. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001064.pub2.


Background: Piracetam is thought to promote the metabolism of brain cells when they are hypoxic. It has been used to prevent adverse effects of fetal distress.

Objectives: The objective of this review was to assess the effects of piracetam for suspected fetal distress in labour on method of delivery and perinatal morbidity.

Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (15 February 2012).

Selection criteria: Randomised trials of piracetam compared with placebo or no treatment for suspected fetal distress in labour.

Data collection and analysis: Both review authors assessed eligibility and trial quality.

Main results: One study of 96 women was included. Piracetam compared with placebo was associated with a trend to reduced need for caesarean section (risk ratio 0.57, 95% confidence interval 0.32 to 1.03). There were no statistically significant differences between the piracetam and placebo group for neonatal morbidity (measured by neonatal respiratory distress) or Apgar score.

Authors' conclusions: There is not enough evidence to evaluate the use of piracetam for fetal distress in labour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Apgar Score
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data
  • Delivery, Obstetric
  • Female
  • Fetal Distress / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Labor, Obstetric*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Piracetam / therapeutic use*
  • Pregnancy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Piracetam